Filed Under Douchebag on 2010-03-30, 20:30
So I run Geeky Tattoos. It’s mostly a labor of love for body modification and geek culture. Awhile back I started watermarking images as I noticed that photos get posted and reposted around the internet and sooner or later attribution just stops. I watermark images so people know at least one place they can go back to in order to track down the original owners of the tattoo. I do my best to find the tattoo owner, the artist, and if there’s a different photographer and include it in every post. If someone wants to find the original owner/photographer for say an article or to reuse the photo, it’s possible.
The Cheezburger network, a group of sites that makes a large sum of money off of tacking text onto images and reposting them, has a site called Ugliest Tattoos. Arguably some of the stuff I post on Geeky Tattoos could also pop up on Ugliest Tattoos depending on your opinions on geeky ink. That’s cool, everyone’s entitled to an opinion. What’s not cool is this post on Ugliest Tattoos. It’s using an image that I originally posted back in June 2009. What’s wrong with it you ask?
1. They’ve cropped the watermark out of the photo. This image is available elsewhere without a watermark, but they’ve obviously used the one posted on Geeky Tattoos. If they’d used the original image, I’d have no qualms, but “erasing” my mark to replace with theirs? Douchebag move.
2. They’ve added their own watermark to the image. I wonder how they feel if someone takes that image, removes their mark, and reposts?
3. They’ve lied and said that I submitted the image. I alone run Geeky Tattoos, there isn’t anyone else that has permission to represent GeekyTattoos, and I never submitted this image.
4. Their “attribution” is simply mentioning “GeekyTattoos.com” without any sort of linkage. This is just poor manners in the web world. When you find something cool, you give a nod to wherever you found it.
In this case, I sadly don’t know the original owner of the tattoo or the photographer. The closest info I’ve gotten is the tattoo artist. But like with many of the “unknowns” I post, the hope is that some day I’ll find the owner and be able to update the post with that info. The watermark helps in that info collection and removal of it prevents that from happening. In addition to that, there’s also the impolite failure to attribute properly. The Cheezburger Network gets a lot of traffic, and to use content from sources without at least a small favor of link love shows a lack of care for the online community. It’s like removing links from a article or erasing all but a book title from the references section of a paper. In today’s Internet of sites like FFFFOUND! and Tumblr, proper attribution seems to be disappearing.
UPDATE: I contacted Cheezburger and they got back to me. They’ve updated the post to link directly to my site, but not the original post. They’ve also left the cropped image up on the site and did not comment on that aspect of things.