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No Camera? No Scanner?

The digital camera and scanner are both great tools for the scrapbooker, but if you can’t afford them, don’t give up. There are many services, including PhotoQuik, Ritz Camera, and the photo kiosks at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS, and other similar stores that scan your prints or rolls of film and give you the scanned photos on CD-ROM. Kodak offers this service, too, and it’s a perfectly good way to get your pictures into the computer.

If you have friends or relatives who have a scanner, ask them to scan your pictures and to email you the scanned photos or burn them onto a CD-ROM. The point is simply to get them into the computer. After you’ve done so, you can work on them whenever you want. Check with family and friends to see whether they have already uploaded any pictures you want to use, such as the annual family picnic potluck, the neighborhood yard sale, or the soccer team’s games. Many people create online web pages, which are a kind of scrapbook, or they upload their pictures to a service such as Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com), Shutterfly (http://www.shutterfly.com), or Ofoto (http://www.ofoto.com). These services—and there are several more of them listed in Appendix C, "While You’re Wandering the Web..."—not only develop and send back your prints but upload your photos to a password-protected website where you can view the pictures, download them to your computer, and order reprints. The storage of your online photos is typically free and there’s no limit to the number of pictures you can send for posting.

You can take other pictures from the Web, too, and some of them are quite awesome. Anything from the government files can be borrowed for free and without even asking permission. Remember those beautiful pictures of Earth from out in space? You can use them. Check out http://www.earthdvd.com/links.htm to see one of the most famous, and then scout around that site to see what else you can find. Pictures from the White House? Sure. Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov and have a look. The Library of Congress has a treasure trove of maps and photos for your enjoyment and use. You can find these at http://www.loc.gov.

What you can’t legally do is use anything that has a copyright notice attached. This includes pictures, textures, designs, icons, and other bits of graphic art you find on other people’s websites, commercial or otherwise—unless they’ve posted it along with permission to help yourself. Of course, if your scrapbook isn’t going outside your circle of family and friends, you’re probably okay anyway. You just can’t do anything that makes money for you without the consent of the copyright owner, usually the artist or author involved. If you want to quote some appropriate poetry or a song lyric on a page, you can do so as long as you aren’t going to sell the page or make it available for other people to use. The bottom line of fair use is that you can’t do anything that might deprive the original creator of making money from his or her creations.

Suppose you’re a new bride, putting together a scrapbook of your wedding. Your song was "Wind Beneath My Wings." Fine, go ahead and typeset or hand letter that song on a scrapbook page. It’s not going to harm the songwriter in any way. But suppose your scrapbook turns out really well, and you decide to assemble and sell a kit for other new brides to do the same, adding their wedding photos where your photos were. Now you’re profiting from your work, and you can’t do that without the songwriter’s permission—which you’re probably not going to get without spending some of your own money. You need to find out who the publisher of the song is and send a written request to their permissions department. Depending on how popular any given song is, and how new it is, they might ask for a fee or just give you permission and wish you luck. It never hurts to ask.

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