after reading Julie’s fantastic post “Sharing Images on the Interntet…” on Tractor Girl this morning, i was inspired today to write more about @iamthelab‘s Design Respect mission.
with great popularity, comes great backlash. and honestly, i think Pinterest is the perfect illustration of this. since the “Pinterest explosion” last winter, people have been polarized to hate it as much as other folks love it.
i personally love Pinterest, and the reasons vary. the following are a few key ones for me:
1) Pinterest links back and displays proper attribution well (showing a URL back to the original post, and offers the category for people to explore other pins from the same site)
2) Pinterest is responsive and immediately removes pins that violate copyright. i experienced this when a certain paint manufacturer did a “like Seeds” approach and created a palette generator that then adds swatches to original works to promote their paint colors. as Design Seeds were popping up around Pinterest with violated copyright because promotional paint swatches were attached to my work, i reached out to Pinterest and all modified Seeds from this site were immediately removed.
3) Pinterest is a major traffic driver. people pin Seeds, and i love that they do so. Pinterest is the largest source for Design Seeds traffic, with direct traffic closely following. no other social media comes close to driving the traffic Pinterest does.
now that you know a few of my feelings on Pinterest, let me share with you the social media that makes me shiver…
what makes me cringe when i am checking out my Analytics for Seeds is when i see traffic coming from Flickr or Deviant Art. i do not have accounts either place, so that means someone uploaded my work (which under their terms means they have either written permission to be posting my work, or they are claiming copyright). i am not aware my work is there, or where to find it. as the source in Analytics simply says “flickr.com,” i have no way of tracking it except for searching the site directly or trying a Google search. also important is that on Flickr, there is nothing integrated to link back “cleanly” to original works or posts. i understand this is not the purpose of Flickr, but people are using it in such a way that they are not only uploading their own work.
another pitfall in social media is on Instagram and how people are using it. it is a great network to share candids and visuals you serendiptously come upon through the day or your adventures. however, many do not use Instagram this way. people are using it more and more to promote their work, sites, or posts. i do not upload Seeds on Instagram, but other people do. as a result, i have lost control of attribution on top of copyright when others upload Seeds. on Instagram, my work does not link back to the original post and is altered through their filters and effects. this same issue holds true for when folks upload Seeds to Twitpic. doing an @someone is not proper attribution when you are uploading their work. you always need to link back to the original source.
finally, the grandaddy of copyright challenging social media is Tumblr. i recently saw this photo on a Tumblr site. the author was taking credit for the photo and even shared what lens they used.
the photo actually is from my old studio, and the photographer is Jennifer McCarty. i felt a little violated because these are my favorite personal treasures (each with a story or was a gift) and it is unsettling to see them claimed by another. but clearly the big issue is that the person is claiming the photo as their own.
and that simply blows. my. mind.
the photo is still on this person’s Tumblr page and has over 4,400 notes, and there is no clear way to have violating work immediately removed from Tumblr. icing on the cake is that this image is only going more viral and linking back to the offending Tumblr account.
just touching on these small challenges of Instagram, Twitpic, Deviant Art, Flickr, and Tumblr are the tip of a very large iceburg. this is not a “Pinterest issue,” but a discussion on all social media and an effort to grow awareness on copyright and attribution.
i know my post offers many of the pitfalls, but i could go on about the powers. that is another post for another time. it is more critical to educate and spread word about the pitfalls and put out the fires to preserve what can be very positive platforms for artists and designers.
i hope this provides more food for thought, and i appreciate the passion of readers in supporting and helping get the message out.