Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If you are an artist on Tumblr you need to read this

A while back I was talking with an artist and they mentioned that they had deleted their Tumblr account. The artist also wanted to keep their identity anonymous as well so that's why no names will be used. I asked why and they mentioned they were very uncomfortable with the way their images could be used.

The following is the email I received from them after asking details as to why.

This is what tumblr replied when I wrote asking them to remove a painting of mine from a hardcore porno site where someone had reblogged it.
I blocked the person, but that didn't remove the image.
Apparently, there is no "opt out" if that happens and you don't like who reblogs you.:
As a community, Tumblr encourages reblogging, as long as everything’s properly credited to the right source. Because of this, we can’t remove properly-credited reblogs of content that you’ve publicly posted on Tumblr.
Tumblr's Terms of Service (http://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms_of_service) state in Section 3 that you as a Tumblr subscriber:"hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sub license), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services."
What we mean by this is that properly-credited reblogs of your content may remain on Tumblr even if you delete your original post or earlier reblog. We do this because in order for everyone to feel comfortable with properly-credited reblogging and sharing, our users need to feel confident that their reblogs will not be removed at a later date.
If you feel that the people who reblogged your work failed to give you adequate credit or somehow violated the law or Tumblr policy, send us an e-mail with specific examples of these violations. Otherwise, we won’t be able to remove the reblogs.

Tumblr Support

Also, I have gotten spam links on my tumblr.

It seems out of control...that is, you have no real control over your own images. On flickr and other such sites, you can "opt out" of certain uses by others.
I was able to contact the porno blog person personally to remove my image, but not all blogs on tumblr are you able to contact the person and you may not be able to have an image removed.

Part of the problem with all this is Tumblr Is Launching Its Own Journalism Operation. It's not clear what exactly these Tumblr journalists are working toward, or how much they're getting paid, if they're getting paid at all.

If you read that section in red above it would seem Tumblr thinks they have the right to do whatever they want with your work after you post it on Tumblr. That to me is not right. You artists work too hard on your art for someone to come along and do whatever they want with it. This seems like a very slippery slope and I'm just afraid more artists getting screwed over some how.

If anyone has anything to add to this by all means let me know and I will post it. Thanks again to the artist that sent me the info for this.

I just received this message from the artist this morning:

Here's a postcript.

I saw that my tumblr blog address with my name on it was not deleted, although I deleted my blog a couple weeks ago.
There is still a blank page with my name at the top. I saw on my stats for my website someone using it and coming to my regular website a couple days ago. Shortly thereafter, I got an artist SCAM email from the same location in the world.
I wrote to tumblr asking them to fully delete the address, explaining what happened, and here is what they wrote back:

"Your old blog was indeed deleted. But when you delete your blog, you free up the URL for anyone else to use. Someone else has now claimed the URL, which they are able to do.
Google and other search engines cache content from Tumblr and other web sites, so a cached version of a Tumblr blog or Tumblr post may remain on the search engine even after it has been removed from Tumblr. You would have to contact the search engine directly to have content removed from its cache. Tumblr has no control over search engine caches."
Someone is now posting on the artist old url and has the artists name on the page. If you want details and the page send me an email I will let you know

Tumblr does not have your best interests at heart.


  1. Publique vuestra entrada en mi twitter, muchos de mis amigos lo usan y no se que tan informados estén al respecto. Me parece fatal. Un abrazo.

  2. Publique esto en mi twitter, muchos de mis amigos lo usan y no se que tan informados están al respecto. Me parece fatal.

  3. Wow. It's not just artists who should be worried - some people post pictures of themselves/their children on Tumblr. So what happens if those images wind up on a site where the subjects would rather not see them? They get a shrugging response from Tumblr too?

    Their fine-print sounds all very friendly until they use it against you.

  4. That is why I will never post original content to tumblr. You lose your copyright as soon as you post there.


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