You may have noticed my new avatar – DragonQA. You may see My Litte Pony resemblance and You will be correct. This cartoon holds a special place in my heart. You will see her a lot in my blog posts and on my presentations because I no longer want to break any copyrights and she is 100% my creation.
This is something I want You to think about. I see some speakers and bloggers breaking copyrights. I am no saint, I’ve used some pictures without permission before. I know from experience how fun it is to see well-used Minions, Star Wars, Grumpy Cats on presentations/blog posts. Even my mentor once said “On IT presentation it is always good to use a geek picture. Or cat picture. Works like a charm”. But… All pictures have copyrights. And sadly adding picture reference is not enough – You need to have creators permission. Finding picture “somewhere in the google” is not an exception.
You may also try to refer to “Fair Use” and say that due to educational purposes of presentation or blog post You avoid copyright law. But I would rather recommend You reading some interpretations of this law because it isn’t that easy.
From what I’ve read and how I understand it the educational purposes mean, that You may show something created by other person and make a comment upon it. You may refer to presentation, picture, book or quote if it is necessary to make a point. But if You show Pinkie Pie from “My Little Pony” to visualize very excited and active tester… Then You are doing it wrong. In this case, You might have used other picture and the educational part would remain this same.
Remember that always, even in Fair Use, you must credit the author. Therefore You need to know who it is first to not put a link to the person who is breaking copyrights by using it on his/her page.
Speakers & Bloggers
I know it is not easy to change overnight. What I would recommend if You are a speaker or blogger is to consider those:
Try to find free to use content
The advanced google search might be of some help. There are also galleries with free-to-use photos like Pixabay or Pexels. Often You will need to spend some more time to find the exact phase You must to use to find what You need. But at least please try. I am very proud of the presentations where I used free-to-use content only (and accordingly I am not so proud of those where I am not sure of it 😦 ).
Avoid unnecessary pictures
The easiest way. Think twice if You really need each picture. Maybe the content of the blog post speaks for itself or maybe it just needs a better title. Maybe instead of a picture, You can use a sentence or word in your presentation. Sometimes less is better.
If you found something You like and want to use – write to artists. Sometimes they give the permission to use their art and ask only for credit. The other option is to ask some artists to create exact image You need. Then You will have to wait some time and pay, but believe me – often it isn’t much! I really admire those, who choose this way. Piotr Wicherski might be an inspiration for You. On his blog and presentations, he uses pictures created by Ilona Myszkowska for him.
Create everything yourself
The surprise is, that You don’t need the skill in drawing. Even basic sketch can be just nice. The other option is to take the pictures you need yourself with the camera. Want to show excited tester? Get inspiration via google search and take a picture of yourself (or a friend). There is also the option, that you have someone in your team who would be eager to help You with creating the content – either taking a picture or drawing. Sketch training is also an option. A great joy awaits afterward when You realize You’ve created everything yourself 🙂
And if You are neither blogger nor speaker there is also something You can do:
Be more aware
While listening to the presentation, reading the blog or during everyday work think about the copyrights. Just because authors don’t have time to report every validation of their rights doesn’t mean everyone can break them. Admire the things for the content they deliver, not by the pictures they show.
Give credit to those who try
In other words – don’t judge the presentation/blog based on lack of pictures. Don’t get frustrated, that there are sometimes only black and white sketches. Admire the work and time it was required to be true by law. I think that for testers this matter should be important.