I’m taking some time out from art (and BBQs) to remember my Uncle Frank, not the easiest task since he died in 1944, several years before my mother was born. He was the youngest boy in a family of 6 children, and his family called him “Noonie” for reasons no one has ever explained to me. My grandmother is the baby of the family, and she recalls with some amusement how in her freshman year of high school, ALL the girls wanted to be friends with her in hopes of getting noticed by her handsome brother the senior.
Like all the other boys in town, Noonie joined up after Pearl Harbor. He was a Seamam 1st Class in the Coast Guard, and his ship, The USS Leopold, had exactly two trips. He was one of 171 lost at sea when their ship was taken out by a torpedo by a German U-boat just south of Iceland on March 9, 1944. The ship itself sank on March 10th.
I’ve personally been on Twitter since February 2007. And not long thereafter, I saw the business implications for Twitter and started an official Twitter account for EBSQ as well in April of the same year. We didn’t use it terribly much at first, mostly just for sharing important site updates. But as Twitter became more and more mainstream, we’ve been using it to have conversations with customers in general. We also use it as a tech support tool. Some of these customers were following us when we first conversed. Some were not. And this hasn’t been a problem…until now.
We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option.
What this means in practical terms:
If you’re trying to get our attention with a question or problem and we’re not yet following you, we’ll still be able to find it (eventually) using search tools, but our response time will be seriously lagging.
If we try to reply to your questions, comments, problems, etc, and you’re not following us, you’ll have no way of knowing unless this policy changes RFN.
This impacts every single business who uses Twitter for some aspect of customer service. It hurts artists who are using Twitter to bring new fans to their work. This change is detrimental to how people meet and interact with each other on a very basic level.
If you agree that this change is “undesirable” please let us know via comment to this post. We’ll make sure The Powers That Be hear you.
We’ve been spending a lot more time than usual on Twitter the past few weeks and we’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about holding sales events, making sales, and even excitement about receiving new commissions. So we’ve been wondering: How are you doing? Are you hanging in there? What (if anything) have you changed to keep your art business afloat in this economy? Care to share your personal survival story?
Hey EBSQ, we’re turning to you to create an ongoing masterlist of EBSQ Art Bloggers which is published here as part of our blog.
Want to participate? Leave your name, your blog url, and your rss feed address (if applicable) in the comments of this post. Once we verify your EBSQ membership and the links provided, we’ll get you added to a special new tab on this blog.
This post will be accepting new comments (and your official blog info) for the next 90 days.
Today I was having a conversation with artist Cynthia Fedor (@cynthiaisgr8) and writer Lon S Cohen (@obilon) on Twitter about how artists can balance a 9-to-5 career with their creative needs. You needn’t have a second job to feel unbalanced. Juggling your family and social obligations, as well as the very real work behind marketing and selling your own art, often leaves precious little time for actual creation.
We came up with a few basics I think you’ll find helpful for any artistic pursuit:
Make art a priority. Make a daily (or weekly) date with your art. Physically write it down on your actual calendar (or iCal of Google Calendar) and treat it just like you would a dentist’s appointment, i.e. Don’t. Skip. It.
Make creation a routine you can’t live without. Keeping on a dental theme, make creating art as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. Even if it’s only 1 hour a day in the mornings before the kids wake up. Those hours add up!
Find a way to transition from task-oriented to creativity mode to make the most of your allotted time. For me, it’s putting on Sigur Ros, music that cues my brain that it’s time to create. Writer Lon Cohen likes to walk to help his brain switch gears between creativity and other obligations. Your mental cue to create might be different, but whatever you choose, routines and artistic preparation rituals can make all the difference.
Allow yourself to create without excuses…or guilt. (This is one I have to remind myself of regularly.) When you’re busy with everything else, it’s easy to let your art fall by the wayside. It’s also easy to put off your art because you have other obligations weighing upon you and art feels too much like a guilty pleasure. You’re an artist not because it’s the most lucrative career choice in this economy. You’re likely an artist because it’s part of your DNA. Let that inner artist out, guilt-free. You’ll thank yourself.
What are we missing? We’d love to hear your strategies for finding balance between the obligations in your life and your art in the comments.
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.
In connection with User Submissions, you further agree that you will not:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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?