Latest Mashable Guides for Artists

by Natasha Wescoat

Tweetable Art: 10 Twitter Tips for Artists

The Artist’s Guide To Flickr

The Artist’s Guide To Youtube

Be sure to share your input, ideas, comments, or share with us your experiences using these social media tools to promote and expose your work. Alot of artists out there don’t realize the awesome potential of the net to get their work out there and seen. ūüôā

 

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Polyvore-ingenius or infringement

Stolen (pin) by Robin Cruz McGee
Stolen (pin) by Robin Cruz McGee

As an¬†admitted geek, ¬†I admire the basic concepts behind Polyvore.com, as stated on their “About” page:

Polyvore is a free, easy-to-use web-based application for mixing and matching images from anywhere on the web. It is also a vibrant community of creative and stylish people.

Polyvore lets you create sets composed of individual images using an easy to use, drag and drop editor. After you have created a set, you can publish and share it with your friends and the Polyvore community.

But my admiration ends where the copyright issues begin. 

Polyvore: ingenius or infringement?

It was brought to my attention by long-time EBSQer Aja¬†that Polyvore was allowing its members to steal¬†and essentially “mutlilate” images from a number of sites without permission via its proprietary “clipping” tool.¬† Apparently this was a huge¬†issue with Etsy last year, and it’s become so again. They’ve also been stealing images from Flickr, and we’re not talking about Creative Commons images but ones that are explicitly marked all rights reserved.¬† A quick search revealed they were doing the same with images from EBSQart, RedBubble, Imagekind, CafePress, DeviantArt, and¬†individual artist’s blogs and personal websites. We’re certain there are other art and photography sources we’ve missed.¬† Sometimes the images were used with some nod of attribution. We found many cases where they were not.¬† Also, we¬†discovered that in many cases, the artists’ watermarks, which are generally used to keep others from reusing their work sans permission or proper attribution, were removed using Polyvore’s in-house editing tools.

According to Polyvore’s Terms of Service:

You shall be solely responsible for your own User Submissions and the consequences of posting or publishing them. In connection with User Submissions, you affirm, represent, and/or warrant that you own or have the necessary licenses, rights, consents, and permissions to use and authorize Polyvore to use all patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights in and to any and all User Submissions to enable inclusion and use of the User Submissions in the manner contemplated by the Website and these Terms of Service.

and

In connection with User Submissions, you further agree that you will not:

  1. submit material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material and to grant Polyvore all of the license rights granted herein; (ii) publish falsehoods or misrepresentations that could damage Polyvore or any third party;

When we contacted Polyvore about all of the images derived from the EBSQart website and asked them to remove all source images, derivative images, and block our domain from being “clipped” again, they apologized and said they took care of it. A later search of their site revealed that while the¬† source images were gone, the derivative items remained fully intact on their site without any attribution to the original artists or works of art ¬†until another complaint was filed. We hope this is the end of the issue as far as the EBSQ website is concerned, but I have my doubts if their ongoing battle with Etsy is indicative of how they do business.

While, according to Polyvore-founder Pasha Sadri, Polyvore is not a sales venue, he also admitted that they do make money when someone clicks through to an affiliated merchant like¬†The¬†Gap and makes a purchase (see the conversation in context at Flickr)¬†There is also some talk of them enabling you to print out your spanking “new” derviative artwork in the future. So yes, they are potentially profitting from your stolen artwork.

What can you do if your work has been used at Polyvore without your consent?

  • Make sure you document every single Polyvore “set” that used your image(s) including screenshots and urls for each infraction
  • Contact info@polyvore.com with your complaint.¬† Ask them to remove your source images, ALL derivative works created from your originals, and ask them to block your domain from being snipped again if the work was stolen from your personal domain or blog. You can also submit your complaint via their online copyright infraction form.
  • Follow up to make sure your work has actually been removed.¬† Don’t just take their word for it!

For further reading on this issue:

http://etsynews.com/607/is-polyvore-stealing-your-images/

http://www.redbubble.com/people/crokuslabel/writing/266182-petition-to-stop-copyright-theft-at-polyvore-com

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5438055&page=1

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5438619&page=1

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5982886&page=1

http://etsynews.com/848/is-polyvore-stealing-your-images-part-ii/

http://stellaimhultberg.blogspot.com/2009/01/polyvore-problem.html

http://artandghosts.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/polyvore-copyright-violation-update.html

Finally, EBSQ artist Aja created a petition aimed at stopping Polyvore from allowing these violations to continue. If this is something you are passionate about, she asks that you take a look and consider adding your voice (and name) to the conversation.

In response, some of the users at Polyvore have created a petition of their own.

So, what’s your take on this issue? Is Polyvore simply an interesting space that lets you mashup other people’s¬†images to create something new and fun to share with your friends? Or is the site blatantly encouraging copyright infringement and ignoring artists’ rights?

-Amie Gillingham, co-founder, EBSQ


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Simon Sez… Art! and everyone is invited to play

On of the weekly challenges on the EBSQ Forum, is Simon Sez. The premise is just as you would expect. There is a Simon and everyone does what Simon says. It was created by Lisa Miller and these are the rules that she set forth:

“Simon Sez is a weekly challenge. Simon posts a new theme on Monday and chooses the winner on the following Sunday. The winner at the end of the week becomes the next Simon. Who in turn will post a new theme and choose the next winner. These are the basic rules. Simon can change anything but the basic rules. ”

Simon Sez is open to any media and anyone can play. If you have questions, there is a place to ask. There is a thread just for the winning entries and they have their own Flickr group as well.

Do you want to know more or have a question? The Simon Sez Rules thread in the Challenge Central section of the Forum is the place to go. Challenge Central is also the place to see the currently running Simon Sez challenge as well as all of the past Simon Sez.

This week Simon is Kevin Murray and his theme is “Bridge”. Below are his rules for this week’s Simon Sez.

“Now this can be interpreted many different ways from a structure built over water, to a game of cards, how about the base of¬†a nose, or¬†the bridge on a ship, or¬†bridging the generation gap, an improved smile with teeth,¬†lets see what you can¬†come up with.¬† You can have up to three entries. ”

Kevin kicked off the this theme with one of his photographs but you’ll have to stop by the EBSQ Forum’s Challenge Central to see the other entries – just click the “Simon Sez… Bridge” thread. When you get there, please feel free to jump in with a comment or better yet, an entry of your own.

W. Kevin Murray
W. Kevin Murray

Using Flickr To Market Your Art

by Natasha Wescoat

Flickr has come to be known as one of the coolest and easiest photo management sites available. You can begin a free membership with up to 200 photos (If I’m wrong let me know. It’s been a while) and going Pro is only $24.95 per year which allows you access to other features. Joining is even easier if you already have a Yahoo! account to log in and sign up!

 

BASIC FLICKR FEATURES:

UPLOADING IN MULTIPLE WAYS

Photos can be uploaded from your desktop, sent via email, or directly from your mobile phone camera.

SIMPLE ORGANIZATION

You can create collections, sets, and tags for your photos for easy organization and professional look.

SHARING

You can join groups of similar interest, and use privacy functions to protect artwork you simply want to upload but keep private from public.

MAPPING YOUR PHOTOS

Share where your photos were taken, or where your art was created!

(¬†Read more…¬†)

(¬†Read more…¬†)

Open Thread: When artistic license isn’t

Those of you¬†who know me know that I’m not just an artist; I’m also a huge tech geek. And so it’s with great interest (and concern) that I’ve been watching the most recent internet kerfuffle at the convergence of my two areas of interest. ¬†You may not be aware of the latest viral video that is the darling of the same tech community it parodies, “Look, It’s Another Bubble” by The Richter Scales. At the heart of this controversy is a photographer, Lane Hartwell, ¬†who found out that yet another one of her photographs was used without her permission in this beloved video. Like many of you might have been in her place, she was pissed that her copyrighted work was used both without permission or attribution.

Yes, it was a good video. I personally passed it around to a lot of like-minded friends before this whole thing blew up. And I can¬†understand that people who enjoyed this video are mad at the photographer¬†for not just giving her blessing after the fact and spoiling everyone’s fun. But¬†now this woman is being called, among other things, “a whiny bitch” for protecting her copyright and being a spoil sport, and some claim she’s impeding on The Richter Scales rights to use the piece in question because the end result is a parody. People have made fun of¬† the quality of her work, and the quality of her character, saying she’s money grubbing and wants a piece of the viral pie, or is taking advantage of all of the publicity she’s receiving for having this video taken down all over the net while she works things out with the other party. It’s personally disheartening to see an artist villified by a community of which I am normally proud to be a part.¬†

So let me put this to you: if this was your photograph being used in this video, how would you react? Would you be thrilled to have your work (sans attribution) appear in a video gone viral? Or would you, like Lane, be pissed that your rights were being infringed upon and try to do something about it? Was the usage of Lane’s photograph fair use, much as parts and pieces are used in a collage, for example?

For further context:

From the photographer in question: http://flickr.com/photos/fetching/2090802706/
From the infringing party: http://www.richterscales.com/blog/
A representative post from the tech community: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/15/misunderstanding-copyright-law-and-ruining-everyones-fun/

We greatly welcome you thoughts on this issue. And if copyright issues are important to you, please pass this on!