On June 1, 2015 we, the Photographers on Tumblr, held a Protect the Creators (PtC) campaign. We, creators of original content, want(ed) to get the attention of Tumblr staff and management. We want(ed) the people who run Tumblr to make the necessary changes to this platform that will protect creators’ original work.
Such protection would make it impossible for rebloggers to alter or remove any part of the original post (title, caption, description) and simultaneously ensure the source link is permanent and irremovable.
This is not an unreasonable request, Tumblr has code changes all the time. Yet nothing seems to have changed in terms of tightening up protection for creators of original content. Worse still, when creators have reported offences, their request for corrective action has been ignored. Are the creators not central to what Tumblr is all about? What would Tumblr be without original content? It would just be recycled content from other internet sites.
An ex-Photographer on Tumblr drew my attention to the slogan Tumblr used to have: “Follow The World’s Creators”
Now the slogan is: “Follow the blogs you’ve been hearing about. Share the things you love.”
This too de-emphasises the creators - a point not lost on anyone in our creative community. It makes me uneasy, especially with so little being done to protect the very creators who fuel Tumblr.
David Karp, Yahoo, Tumblr - please give us solutions.
Tumblr is big enough, it’s smart enough, with probably some of the best resources at it’s disposal. Making a few small changes would give many creators here more security and peace of mind. More importantly (for your bottom line), it would stem the tide of creators moving on to competing platforms.
This is what we are asking for:
1. If we are a creator, an original content blogger, and we report a violation of our work to you - whether it is an alteration to the original post, or outright theft - please act on it. Do not ignore us. Please do something. When you do nothing, you are effectively letting the offender know it is perfectly okay to alter others’ original content, while at the same time - perhaps more importantly - you are fostering discontent and anger within the large and active creator community. We need a change in attitude from you, together with how you manage this. If you need suggestions from us on how we think you should manage this, we will gladly provide. So long as the creator is put back into the position they were in, prior to the offensive reblog/post.
2. Make the necessary code changes we need to protect our original work. This should immediately minimise the instances of infringements and work effort required, as referred to in point 1 above.
3. Allow the metadata of the copyright holder/owner of photos to be retained, along with the camera/speed/aperture/iso exif data.
David Karp, Yahoo, Tumblr - please, make this platform better. We know you can.
The question is, will you?
(My thanks go to the ex-Photographer on Tumblr, Pete of tvoom, Fern of qbnscholar and Chas of cpleblow for advice, input and edits.)
P.S. Some people have asked what prompted me to write this post. It came about because of a conversation I had with someone whom I respect, who has stopped using Tumblr. What sealed it, was them bringing to my attention the change of Tumblr’s slogan.