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How do you know it’s ok to use the graphics offered by certain sites? The
thing is, you don’t, really, unless you know about copyright. So, now I’ve made
you paranoid, right? Good, you should be, however, with a bit of help and some
knowledge you can build your web pages and decorate your posts knowing that
you’re using “safe graphics.”

I once had someone tell me that they could “hit 10 more snag boards today and
you never know what I will get.” I would like to think that all of you are “safe
snaggers” and that you create safe graphics. I would also like to think that if
you happen to use an unsafe graphic and you’re called on it, that you accept it
gracefully and remember that we’ve all been there. There’s no shame in
accidentally using a graphic that you shouldn’t – the shame comes when you do it
on purpose.

If you love graphics, you should be able to commit some time to insuring that
you use only those that you’re allowed to in the manner the creator wishes them
used. Otherwise, you don’t really love graphics – what you like is the instant
gratification that comes from a whole bunch of other people saying “oooooh, that
page/those graphics are so great – nice job” That’s something you should have to
work for.

What follows is a series of relatively brief lessons that will arm you with the
knowledge that you need to feel confident that you’re using the safest graphics
possible. At the end is a self-quiz so you can reassure yourself that you’ve
learned your lessons well ;).

Once you graduate, you should still be prepared to reassure folks that you’re
using/offering safe graphics if asked and, if you happen to make a mistake,
again, be gracious about it. There’s really nothing worse than those who
snootily assume that others will blindly take your word (and get all pissy when

Having said all of that, let me remind everybody that nobody is expected to be
the copyright police. As long as YOU do your best to insure that YOU are using
safe graphics (and putting “artist unknown” isn’t OK), your work is done. Even
if you manage a group, this is all that’s expected of you – assume that your
members have also insured that they are using graphics in the manner the creator
intended (even if, *gasp* an image has no credit). The only person that can tell
you otherwise is the artist or their agent – which they can do directly or
through the website host who would then contact you. IF that happens, just
delete the graphic & go on your merry way knowing that you are doing everything
as correctly as possible.

Don’t hesitate to post or email any questions, comments or concerns.

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3


Lesson 5

Lesson 6


SGS Quiz


Use this Graphic to Link to this page. Save to your own hard drive…do not


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