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Good morning, followers, and a pleasant autumn season to you. It’s the time of year when folks are bringing in their season’s crops, red, orange and yellow leaves litter the turf, and many are decorating for All Hallow’s Eve. At this time of year, one often sees the ragged figure of a scarecrow peeking out from among the cornstalks.
Scarecrows of various types have been used by humans practically since the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. They’re generally human-like in appearance and serve to deter crows and other pests from disturbing agricultural crops. Nowadays, we’ve found other means of deterring pests, and scarecrows more often serve as decorations.
manifestation of agricultural spirits. There are stories of scarecrows wandering the night, punishing those who steal crops and defending their fields from malevolent goblins and trolls. Sometimes, the spirits of dead farmers possessed the bodies of scarecrows to continue protecting their land in the afterlife.
Today, scarecrow festivals are held throughout the UK, in celebrations of rustic country life. British colonists brought the tradition of the scarecrow with them to America, and scarecrow festivals are not uncommon in rural communities in the US and Canada. They have become a fixture of rustic folk-art and an important part of our cultural heritage.
By T.K. Wilson
In this digital age, it can be very easy to take pictures and films for granted. Being bombarded by visual media all day, every day, we get used to it, not thinking that there’s a person or company behind that image. The fact of the matter is that a good deal of people don’t pay attention to how well they cite something. And that can lead to BIG trouble.
In 1998, a bill called the Copyright Term Extension Act passed Congress. Now, before we go father, I’ll explain copyright law for the rest of us who don’t speak Lawyer. Copyright is simply the protection granted to a person who creates a product (film, picture, character, invention, etc.) for the public consumption. These protections are in place to ensure that the person who created it can never have it taken from them, and thus are guaranteed the revenue from them. After the original person’s death, that protection is granted to their family or estate, whoever they name in their will. In the US, thanks to the 1998 law, that term is the author’s lifetime, plus 95 years.
This means that any images you find on the internet, if they were created AFTER the year 1923 are still in copyright. This includes fan-fiction (stories using characters from published or filmed works) and fan-art (images or films using characters from published works), which fall under the copyright of the original producer. Just because they are available for public consumption does not mean you can just snag them up willy-nilly and use them for whatever. That’s not what that word means. That means you have to give proper CREDIT and CITATION for whatever you use, and above all, you CANNOT sell it.
This may all seem very intimidating. After all, companies who publish even things like crochet and knitting patterns have very deep pockets and would think nothing of soaking the little guy. All very true, but much misery and heartache can be avoided if one cites things properly. And it’s not hard, and with tools like Google Image Search, it’s easier than ever.
In academic circles, the process can be frustratingly time consuming. I was English Major, I speak citation as a second language. However, for most casual bloggers, a simple page link or caption giving credit to the owners is all that’s required. Some sources already come under the “fair use” rules, such as stock photography from sites like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash. These photos are copyright free, and free to use for everyone. Below is an example of an “aesthetic board” that I use for planning how my story characters will look and feel. In the caption, you can see an example of how to cite photos PROPERLY.
In order, I listed: Fox (who own the character of River Tam), WallpaperCave (for the plain backgrounds) Christopher Tin (songwriter of "Dream of Flight"), John Rzeznik (Songwriter of "Iris"), Heather Dale (songwriter of "Mordred's Lullaby") the BBC (owners of the "Frankenstein" Miniseries starring Luke Goss), Pixabay, and Unsplash (the stock photo companies)
These rules can save you a LOT of time and a potential trouble with the law. These apply to everything from blogging to Pinterest, not to mention all the headaches people go through trying to track something back. It may take more time in producing your work, but you know the old saying: "A stitch in time..."
Good day, faithful readers, this is Ian Wilson writing to you today. So this past week, T.K. and I went to Upstate Comic-Con in Messena, and we had a pretty good time there. Due to events beyond our control, we could only go to Day 2, where we had planned on going to both days.
Day 2 was good, though not quite as well attended as we had hoped, we did get to connect with a lot of our customers and fanbase. I didn’t bring a lot of my wood crafts because I didn’t think it was the venue for that. I did bring a lot of my graphic artwork, including art from my graphic novel, Legend of the Sword Bearer. Those got some interest. My sister, however, did some brisk business, selling her toy memorabilia, doll dresses, etc.
There were a lot of cosplayers there; some of them semi-professional, like Batman and the Montreal X-Men, but most were amateurs. They were a creative group of people. I felt a bit underdressed, having come as a gunslinger (it was a last-minute choice, based on the fact that the weather was cold that day). One of the X-Men complimented me on my choice of attire, however. The costumes were made from everything from fabric to metal roofing. One man came as Radigast from Tolkien’s fantasy books, and he even brought a live dove! He was probably the most popular person there besides Batman and certainly had the best costume. In all, it was fun and interesting to see all the characters at Upstate Comic-Con.
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.