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What’s My Picture Doing On Pinterest?

Ignite Phoenix #5 Ruth Carter by Sheila Dee

This is the photo of me that's on Pinterest -- Ignite Phoenix #5 by Sheila Dee

I’m not on Pinterest. I don’t need another internet addiction, and I think it’s a hub of unintentional copyright infringement. Pinterest provides a forum that encourages sharing, and I think it leads to people being so interested in sharing images that they don’t realize that they are violating other people’s copyright rights.

I was recently surprised when I saw that someone got to my law firm’s website by following a link from Pinterest. I traced it back to a board for the ASU Law Solo Network. The person who created the board posted a photo of me from my site with a link to my law firm’s webpage. I know the person who created the board used the picture to promote me and my business and only had good intentions. But she also didn’t consider whether she needed permission to use the photo.

My initial reaction was anger. I’m not on Pinterest, and I don’t want anyone posting any of my work on Pinterest without my permission. I started thinking about what I could do to get it removed, like sending a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice. That train of thought immediately stopped when I realized, “I don’t own this picture. I don’t get to decide where it’s shown online, and my rights aren’t being violated. I’m getting free publicity out of this, so shut up.”

I went back and looked up the original photo. It was a photo Sheila Dee took of me at Ignite Phoenix #5. The photo is available on Flickr and it has a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to copy and distribute the photo as long as they don’t alter the image, use it for commercial purposes, and if they give an attribution to Sheila. There’s nothing I can do to stop someone from pinning Sheila’s work on Pinterest. I bet Sheila’s happy that someone is indirectly promoting her by showing her work to others.

So what did I do about this photo on Pinterest? Not much – it’s not my photo and it’s free publicity for Carter Law Firm. I saw that the photo that was pinned didn’t have an attribution to Sheila Dee, so I sent the board owner an email asking her to give an attribution and a link back to the original image on Flickr.

This has been a good reminder to me that I don’t get to control every picture of me. I have no expectation of privacy in anything I do in public and part of that is I don’t have any control over where picture of me in public end up in most cases. And just because I’m not keen on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean that it can’t benefit me.

If you want to know more about copyright issues on Pinterest, check out this video.

Pinterest Spawns Copyright Issues

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Top 10 Tips for LexThink.1 from Ignite Phoenix


Stephanie Horn at Ignite Phoenix #7 by MoLo_trash

Ignite Phoenix is one of the best events I’ve ever participated in. Each Ignite features a series of presenters and each one has 5 minutes and 20 PowerPoint slides that advance every 15 seconds to share one of their passions. LexThink.1 is based on Ignite, except each presenter gets 6 minutes and 20 slides that advance every 18 seconds.

I’ve been involved with Ignite Phoenix for over two years, and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. I had the pleasure of speaking at Ignite Phoenix #5, and I’ve volunteered at eight other Ignite Phoenix events. My usual volunteer role is assistant stage managing. I help wrangle and orient the presenters before the show and make sure the presenters are on the stage at the right time with the right microphone attached to their body.

Here are my top 10 tips for presenting in an Ignite-style format.

1.  Wear Clothes that Accommodate the Microphone: Wear an outfit that has a structured shirt that can handle having a microphone clipped to it. Wear pants or a skirt so there’s a waistband or back pockets to attach the transmitter to. At one Ignite event, we had a presenter wear a dress. I had to go up the back of her dress and clip the transmitter to her bra.

2.  Limit your Message: When you’re watching the clock, 18 seconds seems like a long time, but it’s not when you’re speaking. I recently watched one of my favorite Ignite Phoenix presentations. On average, he said 3-4 sentences per slide. Don’t try to say more than that.

3.  Use Awesome Pictures: Your voice provides the words of your message. Your slides should enhance it, not simply repeat it. Choose interesting photos that embody the message or emotion behind your verbal message. Don’t use bulleted lists and avoid superfluous words. Seth Godin recommends using 6 words or less on each slide.

4.  Have Permission to use every Image: Make sure you own or have permission to use every image in your presentation. Select images that have Creative Commons licenses that allow you commercialize and modify the original work.

5.  Allow Time for Laughter when you have Hilarious Pictures, Stories, or Ideas.

6.  Memorize your Presentation: You don’t have to memorize your presentation word-for-word, but you should not need notes on stage. Your slides should be a sufficient guide. One of the worst Ignite presentations I ever saw was one where the presenter read his entire presentation off his phone.

7.  Practice, Practice, Practice:  You cannot practice your presentation enough. Go through it multiple times per day, out loud, with the slides set to advance every 18 seconds. There is no other way to get comfortable presenting in the Ignite format.

8.  Turn Off your Phone: You don’t want your phone to ring during your presentation. You don’t even want you phone in your back pocket set on vibrate because you may have friends who are evil enough to call you while you’re presenting just to see the look on your face when your butt starts vibrating.

9.  Have Fun: Ignite Phoenix has one of the best audiences to present in front of. They are so supportive and excited for each presenter. I hope the LexThink.1 audience is the same.

10.  I purposely left tip #10 blank. Dozens of people have graced the Ignite Phoenix, Ignite Phoenix After Hours, and Ignite Food stage. If you have presented at any Ignite event, in Phoenix or elsewhere, please leave a comment with what you think the tenth tip should be.

I’m very excited to present at LexThink.1. See you in Chicago!

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Top 10 Blogging Tips for Law Students

Blogging Research Wordle

Image by Kristina B via Flickr

I recently got an email from Jonathan Negretti, a 2L at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He and his classmate recently launched a legal blog, and he asked me to provide some feedback. They’ve created a good based they can build on. Starting a blog as a 2L is a great idea because it gives you some time to build a following and demonstrate some areas of expertise before you graduate.

Here are the top 10 blogging rules that I shared with him.

  1. Whenever you do a legal blog post, put a disclaimer at the top that informs the reader that you are not a lawyer or giving legal advice. Here is the disclaimer that I use: “I am not an attorney. In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice. It is simply my experiences, opinions, and stuff I looked up on the internet.”
  2. Use lots of links. Put links in your posts to applicable laws, other blogs, and news stories. This builds up your credibility and is a great way to connect with other bloggers.
  3. Get a Twitter account to network and announce when you publish a new blog post. It’s better to have an account for yourself, not your blog, because people want to connect with you as a person. You should also announce new posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.
  4. Complement your posts with interesting images. I get good ones for free from Zemanta and CreativeCommons.org. If you are using images from Creative Commons, be sure to use images that you can adapt and use for commercial purposes.
  5. It’s perfectly acceptable to invite others to write guest posts on your blog. Be sure to include a bio for them at the bottom with links to their blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, etc.
  6. If your plan is to open a law practice after graduation, check your state’s ethics rules regarding legal advertising before inviting people to hire you.
  7. If you are compensated for writing a blog or get free merchandise in exchange for writing a review, you must disclose it in the blog post. There’s an FTC regulation about that.
  8. Approve all non-spam comments, even from people who are mean or disagree with you. It shows that you’re not afraid to discourse and that you’re open to other perspectives. If you can stay level headed while other people are losing their minds, it makes you look articulate and confident.
  9. Respond to every comment. Blogging is an effective way to start conversations.
  10. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Some of the most memorable blog posts are the ones where the author takes a strong stance that not everyone agrees with. They inspired people to leave comments and be part of the discussion. One of the best things I did in law school was Sponsor A Law Kid, and it was also one of the most controversial.

If you have any questions or tips for neophyte law student bloggers, please leave them as comments. This is one of those areas where law schools don’t always prepare their students to effectively use a networking tool.

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