Saturday, August 06, 2011

Techie - Thoughts on Tumblr?

I've been talking to people about Tumblr and looking at some Tumblr sites recently.  Some of the images are amazing.  In short, it's a microblogging service - an analogy might be Twitter with pictures and sounds.

Now I'm interested to know:
  1. How many of you are aware of Tumblr?
  2. How many of you are actually using Tumblr on a regular basis?
  3. What tips do you have if you use Tumblr?
  4. What you want to know if you've looked at the site but as yet have not taken the plunge?
  5. If this is the first time you've visited the website, what are your first impressions?
For the record here is:
Copyright and accreditation
See Feature Friday- Quilled Starry Night for ORIGINAL content
I'm not sure they are too hot in enforcing copyright infringement - which is one of my queries (mainly because I've seen it happen)
  • above you can see images which have been notionally sourced from The Telegraph - which in turn appear to have sourced them from a blog by Susan Myers called Suzy's Artsy Crafty Sitcom
  • the top image used has carefully removed the accreditation line - see feature pic on original blog post cited below
  • Although both the article and post name the artist, neither the so-called "source" or the Tumblr post actually accredited the artist with a link to the ORIGINAL source ie Feature Friday- Quilled Starry Night - which is stunning post which shows you how this was done with quilled paper.  So everybody gets to admire it but the artist gets no traffic to her blog!
Any thoughts?

UPDATE: re copyright infringement of Suzy Myers' work

7th August 2011

I left a comment on Suzy's blog post yesterday (ie Feature Friday- Quilled Starry Night) after publishing this post and indicated that maybe the visuals have travelled rather further than she was aware. 

I got this very nice comment by way of reply which I'm republishing below.  Note in particular her comments re Tumblr and that Etsy practices proper accreditation
Hi Katherine!

Thank you for the heads up.  Since the photos went viral about a week ago, I have lost track of where they are being shown and if I have been linked to them.  It seems that tumblr is the main area where copyright seems to be lost.  Unfortunately they are picking it up from each other and passing it on, crediting the tumblr site that they found it from.  I figure that at this point, if someone wants to know more about me or my artwork, I am easily found on google.  Most likely the way you found me.  Ha!

Fortunately, some of the larger sites have credited my site, including Etsy's Facebook page who picked it up and it resulted in 4000 folks an hour swinging by to check out my work.  I am more than thrilled.  

In a normal world, I have been known to persue folks and make them add a mention of where they got it from.  But this has gotten so out of hand, it would be very difficult to try at this point.  I do appreciate your post.  It brings to light an issue that gets more prevalent every day.  

Thank you!!



    1. Quote: 'Copyright. Using copyrighted material does not constitute infringement in all cases. In general, however, users should be careful when using copyrighted content without the permission of those who created it. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). '

      'careful about using'? ??? that's a very open statement, not making clear at all that it's illegal to use copyright material without permission and that artists and creators retain copyright automatically.

      And 'Using copyrighted material does not constitute infringement in all cases' another vague statement with ????? sccuracy

      I think DACS would have a fair bit to say here! anyone using work by an artist signed up with them could have lawyers on their case. I remember the editor of an art magazine describing them as a 4 letter word indeed because of their ferocity in pursuing cases!

    2. Did you know I recently started a tumblr blog? See it here.

      My template is a simple design, which is one of the free ones offered in your standard set-up. Somewhere along the way, I lost the ability to comment at any tumblr, so that is my first tech issue to work out.

      I am searching for a free template that will offer larger image space, since tumblr is image-driven. It does allow text and quotes, but I haven't understood why there are different template-built posts. In Blogger, the content is all done in the same template, if you will.

      I find the experience easy, overall, and very fun.

      Thank you for doing your exploration into copyright issues, Katherine. I am trying to balance my posts there with few artworks, since I am a newbie at tumblr.

      I just had an issue of copyright at Facebook. An Asian artist was using one of my apple sketches in pastel as her favitar on FB.

      I friended her, and because I could see she reads a small amount of English, I made my appeal to her very directly and simply said "please take my image down." I had to write this same appeal several times, but never felt the need to change the wording. I realized she may not have known how to change her favitar (her nationality is from a very third world country, and even we in the first world scratch our heads at these tasks). Finally she did take it down, and we remain "friends" in the FB sense.

    3. I think you're bringing up a really important issue. Part of the problem, IMHO, is that newspapers are still working like they did in pre-internet times. Even 15 years ago, if your name appeared in the paper as an artist (or actress, or business person), you were probably the only one under that name.

      After looking at the photo in the Telegraph, I Googled "Susan Myers". The top search result was the page for a metal working artist in Pennsylvania, and the second result was the Wikipedia page for a character on Desperate Housewives. Neither of these are the artist who did the Van Gogh work, who lives in Georgia.

      I don't think the problem can be solved easily at Tumblr. People need to be educated about the importance of attribution and Tumblr can help with that. With the newspapers, they should definitely be attributing works by name and location at least.

      Thanks for making people aware of this (and sharing a great blog)!

    4. I think Tumblr is a great service because it has the immediacy and social networking aspects of something like Twitter or Instagram within a blog format. I recently opened a Tumblr account and I've found myself posting often on it precisely because it's so easy to do. The compulsion to come up with durable content that a blog implies just isn't there which makes it a lighthearted, fun, enjoyable experience.
      Re: copyright infringement/lack of attribution - Tumblr's interface makes it easy and quick to create links to the original work. Inevitably there will be people who don't care or can't be bothered but Tumblr isn't to blame for that. These days, as much as we might not like it, we have to accept that the price we pay for the social media phenomena is that our work will sometimes get published without a link back. If we don't accept that as a premise, its probably not wise that we put our work online in digital format, except perhaps in Flash displays where images can't be easily 'grabbed.´'

    5. I'd highlight Flickr here by way of context.

      They started off in the same way as Tumblr with nice friendly warnings which were less than specific.

      They got their act together after the legal notices started flying. I'm not saying that copyright infringement has stopped at Flickr but they've definitely tightened up their approach

      The obvious improvement they could make is much more direct statements which indicate that original sources should be both identified and accredited.

      In the instance quoted I'm not blaming the person with the Tumblr blog as they did that. They just didn't know that The Telegraph demonstrated very poor jourmalistic practice in failing to do the same!


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