Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting a Spiritual Spanking

You may have noticed that the pictures on my posts lately have been ones that I've taken. Some posts don't have any pictures. Well, there's a reason for that. 

When I click on the icon to add a picture, it gives me options, such as upload, from this blog, from your phone, from Picassa, and from a url. If I click on the from a url icon, a little message appears at the bottom of the page that says this: "Remember, using others' images on the web without their permission may be bad manners, or worse, copyright infringement."

I've seen that message over a hundred times, because I've posted over a hundred blogs. Each time I see it, I say to myself, "Well, the pictures are right there on Google images. If I wasn't allowed to use it, wouldn't I be blocked somehow?" Hmmm, obviously not.

Sometimes I try to ignore it. Other days, I might say, "Everyone else does it." And then I hear my friend say what she used to say to her daughter, "If everyone else was lining up for a spanking, would you get in line too?" 

Well, maybe I needed a spanking! I certainly got a spiritual spanking, because little by little, I became uncomfortable with "using others' photos without their permission." I realized that I may not have been breaking copyright laws, but maybe I was. If nothing else, I was finding a picture of a cute kid and posting on my public blog without that person's permission (Your pictures are out there-trust me, I've checked. I've seen my own pictures on Google images). 

I'd wager to say that most of you reading this blog have copied a friend's music cd and given it back to them. Did you know that's copyright infringement? The rights to distribute, display or reproduce that music is solely the copyright holder's-not yours. You probably don't think you're doing anything wrong, or maybe you justify it by saying, "Well, she had the cd and I'm only one person. How is that hurting anyone?" I'll tell you how:

Several years ago, I produced two music cds. I spent a lot of money doing so, and I knew I'd never get that money back. I gave most of my cds away. But if someone bought that cd and then gave it to a friend to copy, who gave it to a friend to copy, etc. how many sales would I be deprived of? Unless I give my permission to copy and distribute freely, it's simply not right. And neither is using photos without permission. 

How many times a day do we do things that we know are wrong? They're probably small, seemingly insignificant things that no one will even notice. Like the photo or cd thing. Some things may not be necessarily "wrong:" rather, they're just not quite right- like not bringing your grocery cart back to where it says, "Return carts here." (my photo, by the way...it's my pet peeve)
Or making a left turn where it says, "No Left Turn," because  I'm in a hurry and there's no one coming anyway and that sign wasn't always there and I always turned there before and nothing ever happened (just a random scenario...not that I've ever done that!) 

But guess what? God notices. My spiritual spanking made me realize that if I want God to bless this little blog of mine, He won't do it if I'm blatantly disobeying the law. If I want to be trusted with bigger things, I need to prove myself trustworthy of the little ones. Same goes for you.

So, I hope you like my pictures because that's all you'll be seeing unless I decide that purchasing a license for photo usage is worth it. One step at a time.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mary



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