Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tumblr and copyright

I first used Tumblr to stalk fan taken pictures and other interesting fandom related stuff. Eventually, I started to post my own photos of artists taken at concerts and fan meetings. It feels great once you find out that people like your post, or better yet, when they reblog them. What’s not great, however, is when you find your own photo reblogged by others, claiming it as theirs. Fortunately for me, I have secured my work by placing a watermark on my photos where it cannot be edited or cropped out (without destroying the image, of course).

Although reblogging on Tumblr would always include the link back to the original poster, thereby placing proper attribution, it cannot be helped but think of possible intellectual property violations when reblogging someone else’s post. It can be argued that the reposting would be covered by fair use. But what if you got reblogged by one who gets paid because of ads in his tumblelog? Wouldn’t that be outside of the fair use doctrine (as it has already acquired a commercial use), despite it having linked to your original post (not to mention that the original link might be buried under a ton of links that may have reposted the work)? What if you wouldn’t want a particular site reblogging your work, as it may affect its value?

Other users have commented negatively about takedowns on Tumblr because of copyright claims. What they’re saying is that once you post on Tumblr, you cannot really claim that your rights have been infringed. You sort of have agreed that your work is free for all. The platform is meant for sharing and reaching a wider audience- if you want your work ‘protected’, post somewhere else. On some level, I agree with this opinion. Posting on Tumblr kind of goes with the knowledge that your work will be liked or reblogged by someone else. I also think that too much restriction would have a dampening effect on creativity and sharing of ideas, considering that this site is generally intended for creation and work sharing. On the other hand, I also think that protection should also be given to creators. Tumblr has provided this by allowing takedowns in case of copyright violations (though not all are to be considered as infringement, per their terms of use) and by putting links of the original tumblelog on the dashboard, in case of reblogging. Protection by users themselves can also be done, by placing proper or having adequate notice on blogs themselves that some, if not all, works are not to be posted or not to be reblogged without proper credit or permission. As for rebloggers, well, one means is to ask permission in case of doubt, or to really play it safe, just like the post.

Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 10

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