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If you didn’t make it, give credit to the person who did.
It’s a pretty simple rule that gets violated all the time when it comes to photography – and now it seems that major Internet multimedia publisher Buzzfeed is tacitly encouraging the practice in its Facebook fan groups.
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A story carried by FStoppers today outlines how members of certain Buzzfeed fan groups on Facebook are explicitly forbidden from crediting photographers when they post images. This is in addition to not being able to post any photo that contains any kind of watermark whatsoever.
So to recap: It’s OK to post someone else’s photo without crediting them as long as the photo doesn’t have a watermark.
If you’re thinking this is kind of a strange policy for a major web publisher to have then you’re not the only person.
FStoppers reports on one incident in particular involving photographer Rebecca Britt who is a member of Buzzfeed’s “Room of Remembrance” Facebook fan group, a forum for Harry Potter fans. She reported that she was told by group admins that the rules in place were to prevent spam and self promotion.
In correspondence with the group admins that Britt shared with FStoppers it was revealed that it was permissible to post a watermarked photograph to the group if the watermark is cropped out. Not only is that unethical but also that violates the creator’s rights to the work.
Apparently this practice is quite widespread on Facebook groups with admins encouraging the removal of the watermark on a photo in the hope that that action somehow obviates any kind of copyright violation.
One particularly egregious example cited by FStoppers involved a group trying to monetize a photographer’s photo for a calendar until that idea blew up in their face.
All in all another day and another layer in the onion that is violation of photography copyright laws.