by Kerry Martin
While working to promote an event for the Florida Public Relations Association, I ran into the problem of having to use an eye-catching graphic for the flier. Knowing the sometimes-high cost of stock photography, I turned to searching the clip art library in Microsoft Word.
Of course the clip art that was installed on my machine wasn’t what I needed, so I tried the option “Find more at Office.com.” It came as a surprise, however, to find that the online collection wasn’t much of a library at all; instead it was simply a suggestion to search the entire Internet using Bing and save whatever image that I wanted.
Today’s culture of freely sharing content online does come with some restrictions, which major sites like Wikipedia (and its derivative Wiki Commons), and Flickr help define through their usage of Creative Commons licenses. That’s why it’s disappointing to think that Microsoft opts for pure promotion of its search engine Bing instead of pushing for proper acknowledgement of artists, photographers, illustrators or other content creators.
Now granted, I don’t believe that every PTA newsletter that uses license-protected imagery is going to prompt a cease-and-desist letter, but still, Microsoft should do something to help educate its users about photography ownership.
Too many people out there don’t understand the principle of copyright. For Microsoft to overlook this, it goes beyond ignorance; it’s negligent.