For proper academic practices there are very strict guidelines as to how you use and cite content that wasn’t directly created by yourself. Do you think any of it is applicable to a medium such as Tumblr or other similar blogging websites?
I ask this because I’ve recently come across GreyHandGang which is a gorgeous looking site filled with gorgeous images, though none of which are created by the owner of the site, and absolutely none of them have a crediting system in place. Is it simply enough having a disclaimer on the “about” page stating that the owner of the site does not own or did not create any of the work featured on the site?
I usually spend an additional two or three minutes per post making sure that all of the images used on my blog are properly accredited, linked and tagged for searching. Is it all in vein as bloggers have seized the right to ownership of any image that is uploaded to the web. Any photographer who has had even the slightest success online has discovered various problems with web users taking images and using them without note of authorship or source linking.
I’ve found TinEye can be a very useful tool for discovering your own photos on other sites or tracking down details of ownership and source sites for images which you maybe don’t have all the relevant crediting details for. Sure it’s not perfect but it’s helped me out more times than it’s let me down. A free web browser plug-in even adds to the efficiency of the tool. Tumblr itself has the facilities for a “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet that automatically adds flickr user information to the body of the post. I don’t understand why it has become okay for this on the web whereas if you were to approach a publisher filled with images you found inspiring, the quality of the content would be the least of your worries.
The sheer scope of the problem at hand makes it difficult to combat this on anything other than a personal level. There will always be lazy curators of “inspiration” blogs that either feel they are not bothered tracking down the relevant information and as a result image makers are forced to use flash sites, low resolution versions of their images or even the putrid practice of watermarking.
I’d love to see a rational argument against using a proper crediting system that doesn’t just contain the phrase “I use Tumblr for fun”.