PLAGARISM: My Confession


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Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?   I’m doing great, but I wanted to take a day to write a more serious post about the reason for internet caution. Specifically, I wanted to talk about the confusing realm of copyright law and how it applies to the images we use on our blogs.


Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer; I didn’t go to law school; I don’t even play a lawyer on television. 


Disclaimers aside, I did complete a bachelor’s degree and part of a masters before I suffered my TBI after playing around in Iraq.  As a trained historian, I was taught the basics of plagiarism.  I would never copy the writings of another author, or steal their research and/or intellectual property.  It’s wrong, and would violate the core of my strongly held beliefs about right and wrong.


It goes beyond just schooling.  I was raised with this moral compass and it was reinforced by the Army. There, I lived by a code that prohibited lying, cheating, and stealing.  I was further indoctrinated into this by my years spent attending a military college with the mantra, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.”  Harsh perhaps, but it’s how I choose to live my life.


Why do I mention all of this?  Recently, it was brought to my attention that I haven’t been careful with the visual mediums on my blog page.  I displayed pictures I didn’t own, or have the rights to use on my blog.


I was mortified, petrified even.  Also, I was ashamed.  If you’ve been following my page, you likely remember the post where I mentioned it.  Afterwards, I went through my blog and sanitized it (military speak for removing all potentially incriminating information).  I took down all the pictures I didn’t have the rights to use and replaced them with pictures from the creative commons that are free to use.  I find them from Google using an advanced search, and indicate where they came from with a tag at the end of my post.  You’ll see that I go out of my way to credit the specific source AND to direct traffic their way.


This should, in my meager understanding, help shield me from the claim of damages under my theory that I am providing free advertising.  I don’t know if this is good enough for a lawyer, but I’ve done the best I could.  If you want further help, my friend Corey has given these helpful links.  His first helpful hint was the Electronic Frontier Foundation who posted this Legal Guide for Bloggers as a resource for those trying to be above board on their site.  His final resource recommendation was the GCF group who posted an article about Copyright and Fair Use.


What does this mean to you?  It’s a cautionary tale.  I would suggest you verify what you are putting on your page like I have.  You might be a small fry right now, and you might be a best seller, but the potential for being sued is real.  It becomes more real the second you start advertising your name and your books on your page.  The second you monetize your blog it becomes commercial.  If this is you, then it matters. These are the ones likely to get sued, so don’t be that guy/gal!


Now, not everyone is a qualified artist capable of rendering their own art.  How do you find your own art?  First, if you own a camera and can take your own pictures, those are yours. You own them.  Even a photo of another piece of art is yours to use.  You can get a cheap, or free, photo editing program and watch some YouTube videos on how to use it.  You can search images in the Creative Commons, just indicate that they are such.  Or you could use the Google search feature like I do that does the same thing.


You could also hire an artist/graphic designer directly, though, it could get costly. If you do this I would recommend having art generated that you can use repeatedly for many posts.  And finally, you could source it from a site like Shutterstock that lets you buy rights to use various finished stock art pieces.  Just be careful you buy the rights you need.  Some of the lesser prices are for art you can’t monetize.  If you ever dream of selling art from your blog on coffee mugs, then you better be able to monetize it.


A final word of caution, I’m not a legal scholar so this is just one neophyte helping a Brother/Sister Noob in the “Ways of the Copyright.”  If you need specific help, I suggest you find an attorney specializing in Copyright Law.  Like I said, that aint me!


Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

 Image result for muskets




—> As usual, the two images I used today can be found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.



–> As usual, all images are found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

–> Authors Note:  These images were taken by J.R. Handley and are owned by him.  Anyone wishing to use them may do so, provided proper citation is used.

–> This image was found on the hilarious iFunny website, under the search word #infantry.  Go on over and check out those comic geniuses!! 

–> The artwork from today is original content created by Corey at the Quintessential Editor.

–> As usual, this picture was found on Google and is labeled for reuse.  It was posted by The Blue Diamond Gallery, go on down and check them out.

–> The artwork in question belongs to Davis Ashura and is being used under the Fair Use Doctrine.

Author Update



Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?  It has been too long since I’ve written a blog post, and for that I’m truly sorry.  First, my wife got sick with the dreaded flu, so true to my husbandly duty I provided care.  This involved making loads of chicken noodle soup, manning the fort, and not burning the house down!  Then I got sick—thanks to her generous nature.  Ugh, I hate being sick but I made it through the other end alive.  I would love to tell you I soldiered through it and worked the whole time…but mamma said I shouldn’t tell lies.  I spent several days where I got ZERO done.  Ugh, I was hoping to have book two done so I could be working on book three but it wasn’t meant to be.

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Finally, at the same time I was sick, Hurricane Matthew hit my locale hard.  We had a lot of flooding, which caused a few local electrical fires when water got into houses.  People lost entire houses when flood damage forced the city to condemn them.

 Image result for Virginia beach floodingImage result for Virginia beach flooding

My own personal vehicle flooded, so I’ve had to deal with insurance to get it repaired or replaced.  Luckily, State Farm has been awesome and is even upgrading my rental car to a truck since my injury makes tiny cars painful and no mid-range vehicles were available.  My contract only requires a car, but they are going above and beyond.  I should know in a few days whether they’ll repair it or total it.

All I know at the moment is that they categorized the damage to my vehicle as Class 2 Flood Damage.  They found water in my gas tank, mixed in with my oil and sitting inside the cigarette lighter/power port things on my floorboards.  To be honest, I forgot they were there so I missed them when I did my best to clean the water out of the inside.  Oh, and they found nasties inside my engine itself; things like leaves, trash and other debris from the storm.  I back up to our cities water drainage system and it overflowed.  It is basically a ditch that connects to a lake, which the city made deeper so rainwater had a place to run off.  When we flooded, my car sucked in some of the litter which is sadly in it and it apparently is the opposite of helpful for your engines.


On top of all that, my mother’s house flooded and took on several inches of water.  They’ll likely have to gut and redo the entire first floor to account for the water damage.  I’ve spent time over there, as much as I could while being sick, helping pull up carpet and other things which have to be done.  It definitely could have been worse, so for that we are grateful.  All told, Team Handley weathered the storm and came out smiling on the other end.  Some did not, AND didn’t have any flood insurance.  They’ll be struggling, but it taught us a valuable life lesson: BUY FLOOD INSURANCE if you live in a flood zone!!  Sigh, should have been common sense but I guess not.


But all that aside, my mother has been busy getting the corporation ready for the launch of our books.  We will have an official bank account tomorrow, and as a gift, she hired someone to do our webpage.  Within the month it will be ready, though likely sooner.  She hired Matthew from MWS Media Creative Services to do a kickass website for us!  When the page goes live, I hope to jump into my previously stated plan for the website.  That means I need to get off my arse and come up with questions for my military veteran authors, and for authors in general, about how you manage your writing life with your home life.  If you guys have any questions along those lines you’d love to see answered, put them in the comment box.


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And since I called this an update, I guess I’ll tell you where I’m at with book two.  I’m currently editing it, but I’ve solved all but one of the major plot holes.  I’m currently on page 138 of 202 and hope to get even further than that before the day ends.  My editor is following close behind me cracking the whip.  No really, that wasn’t a metaphor… that crazy Navy bastard has a whip.  I think he used to be an Indiana Jones fanboy.  I never judge, but those Navy boys are sometimes hard to understand.  Me, I preferred Rambo and GI Joe!  Of course, that was back when he was an All American Hero, before the remake made him some sort of UN Merc, but I’ll save that rant for another day.


Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

Image result for muskets


–> As usual, all images are found under Google’s “labeled for reuse” section.

My Infantry Truth


Hello Space Cadets, how is everyone doing?  I’m pleased to give you all a peak into the life of an infantryman in a light infantry unit.  Hope you got a chuckle out of it as well!  And don’t worry, supply will still issue him his Kevlar vest and helmet to go with it!  And lest we forget, his weapon system!  Hey, what’s another 20 pounds among friends?

Light infantry they said. It will be easy

Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!

Image result for musketsJR

–> This image was found on the hilarious iFunny website, under the search word #infantry.  Go on over and check out those comic geniuses!!