Big internet companies ( Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple) are now in a frenzy purchase of content. The reason is that content attracts traffic and traffic is what they sell. The more content, the better. And since making content is expensive, they rely on the crowd to create the content. However, one of the internet’s dirty secret is that what the crowd sources is mostly content made by others and repurposes illegally.

Take Tumblr for example. The majority of the Tumblr blogs are made of user curated content taken from other sites. They repost what they like and Tumblr makes it very easy to do so. But in the process, they steal content unlawfully. Photographs, mainly. Created by pros.

via $1 billion worth of stolen content | Thoughts of a Bohemian.

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  1. Yes is totally right, if you want to go a step ahead… So we all make content to let the company made money from traffic, and we don’t…
    I think today is difficult to say that something is stolen, we use content made from other people every day.
    But is really scary that the only one who make money are these big company, marketing, advertising etc…

  2. A solution?

  3. This writer is only partially correct. A wonderful contingent of stellar working photographers maintain their own tumblr blogs that exclusively feature their work (Noah Kalina, Elizabeth Weinberg, Thomas Prior, Ryan Pfluger, etc.). I would also like to point out that flickr pro is not dead, although I might be the only one who still cares to use it. Despite allegations of rampant photo theft, all of these photo sharing services are largely being used in a way that actually promotes the artists, with most photographs maintaining their link back to the original post that usually came straight from that photographer’s computer. I’m certainly skeptical about how easy it is in the internet age to steal someone’s work and repurpose it however you see fit, but I have yet to see this particular sin not only materialize, but also threaten anyone’s livelihood in a real way.

  4. Once again it’s not about content, it’s about data. Content is used as bait to attract users (from whom data can be extracted). Viewing sites like Tumblr, Pintrest, et al as part of some sinister plot to steal images from professional photographers is failing to see the big (data) picture. If you post images on the Internet, you have to do so with the understanding that those images might be copied, re-posted or shared in some way. And there can be upside when that happens — i.e., free marketing. It’s only when someone tries to make money from your copyrighted images is there a legitimate legal battle (and even that can be a long, expensive slog with unpredictable results). I certainly don’t approve of stealing images from professional photographers. I recognize it happens, but it’s more of a negative side-effect of the marketplace, not it’s primary function.

  5. At lest with Instagram, people are creating their own content.

    But Pinterest excels at the type of other people’s content that companies that sell products want passed around, namely, their marketing material. They are ecstatic to have users re-pinning pictures of the newest dishwasher or shoes. That kind of exposure used to cost big bucks in the form of ad buys. Now it’s free. And this desire to want their content copied and passed around as much as possible is why we won’t be seeing copyright reform in this area anytime soon.

  6. Yes, it’s all true.
    The problem is that deep in our brains we continue to consider the web a free space. Wrong.
    The web is not free, it’s belonging to some companies that own the codes and the physical space where the web ‘lives’ (big servers). And that companies are very cleaver.
    First they had convinced us to share everything, from our personal data and pics to our professional made content, second they started to use it to rise money.
    In the past no one thought that the pages of a paper magazine was free to use, everyone knew that there was an editorial process and that someone owned the mag.
    Today we have to think about the web (especially the web 2.0 driven by social networks and searching engines) and our relation to it a new way.
    My mind goes to 1947 when a group of talented photographers founded a new agency.
    At that time photographers copyright were not well protected inside the editorial industry. Obviously no photojournalist desired to stop working for that industry. They needed it (as today they need the web) and at the same time they were necessary to it.
    No professional photojournalism without mags and newspapers, no mags and newspapers without professional photojournalism.
    Of course, before that date, and also some years after, a lot of talented photographers continued to follow the industry’s copyright decisions, but that little new agency signed a milestone in the relation between the photographers and the industry.
    Today that the ‘industry’ face is changed we have to rethink our relation to it like that group did.

  7. I don’t see how posting an image that’s already on the internet onto Tumblr is stealing. The person posting isn’t making money off of the image or the site. how is it any different than ripping out a picture from a magazine and taping it to your wall and letting your friends look at the walls of your room? I understand it’s a matter of degrees, but it doesn’t seem like photography careers are ending because of Tumblr or Pinterest, in fact, it seems like the exact opposite is happening. I feel like more artists and creatives are being discovered when a curator shared some stunning new work. I think people are fighting to be the next great curator and that’s where the struggle is. If I’m wrong though, please let me know.

    • I think you’re right. When a photographer complains of someone on pinterest or tumblr ‘stealing’ his image, I can’t help but think oh ye of little mind…

  8. i think the bohemian has not understood how the internet aka the general audience works. tumblr is actually a great platform for photographers. why? no distracting UI, easily customizable, simple usage, rss-feedable (hello google+ etc) or people can follow you, and so on. and most importantly: reblogging keeps the link to the source intact, which is free promotion for you. isn’t that what posting images is about?
    well, sometimes you have to click back through to get to the source-source, but if you want you will find the source. as an extra measure always add a watermark to your images. people are lazy. they dont remove the source, they dont remove the watermark, they just share what they like. thieves will find something to steal anyway.
    PS: i posted this here, because i would have to log in to something to write an answer on the bohemian blog. bummer. more content for the photo editor. less content for the photographer.

  9. Speaking as a pro, all I know is that you have a fucked-up idea of “stealing”.

  10. If an image is reposted without attribution, it is stealing. Period. Read US Copyright law.

    Facebook, Pinterest, etc… intentionally strip Copyright and attribution info precisely to encourage more content on their platforms. Sadly, they are the only ones who profit from it.

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