At that point I finally gave up and posted anyway, reckoning: 1) It’s part of a larger work and a partial quotation of the original work. 2) It is used for illustrative purposes, attributed and linked back to the artist 3) Sod them. If they ask me to take it down, I will.
In this fast world we live in, where we all slap up posts on blogs that are frequently of great currency and rarely of any commercial (or even intellectual!) value, tracing down rights ownership does all seem a little redundant. And, as I found out, not easy. For instance - how do I obtain permission to quote from The Guardian? How long does it take? Surely in 99.9% of cases, by the time the permission request has been processed and granted, the posting finger has, as it were, moved on. AND the vast majority of posts have a lifetime of 24 hours before the next post comes along - so by the time you’ve granted your permission, I’ve moved on to something totally different and so have my (two) readers.
As long as we’re not distributing whole works of value and charging or distributing saleable property for free - and we’re crediting and also linking back to the rights owner, surely we’re doing enough? It seems to be impractical to impose the standard of rights/permissions regime that you would impose on, say, The Guardian, on individuals having ‘a conversation’.
And so it is: most people are perfectly happy that you quote them and link back to them. The debate, however, was triggered by Charles taking exception to the fact that a number of bloggers had ripped an entire article along with its illustrating photograph from The Guardian. If you go doing that, a link back to the source of the content would, indeed, seem redundant. But the line between acceptable use of other people’s content and unacceptable use would appear to be particularly ill-defined – and that doesn’t even touch the issue of how you could possibly enforce your rights when you’re dealing with the multi-country, multi-jurisdiction Internet.
If you look at current UAE legal practice, for instance, I think you’ll find pretty much anything electronic is going to involve high risk, a lot of court-appointed experts and a great deal of wasted time. Like two years of it.
So I guess it's lucky that we're such honest little bears, isn't it?