Wednesday, 20 April 2011

You Can Stick Your Head in the Sand…

A response to comments on Way to go Google!!

Google is not closing blogs because of copyright, they are calling them Spam blogs.  There is a big difference!!  No one ever suggested there are not any gay spam blogs, but Google's Spam net seems to be catching most blogs and MISSING the spam ones.  THIS IS THE POINT!!  Why are they being closed for being Splogs when they are not?  Splogs are well-defined, copyright is a completely different issue completely.

The copyright issue is very difficult.  I can only refer to my own perspective as it pertains to my blog.  I will not post any image if I am aware that the photog forbids reposting or if any model does not wish their photos displayed.  My email is easily accessible on my blog primarily for those reasons. I have operated my blog for 4 years, and posted over 25,000 images. I have had requests for removal and I comply with every one, and I don't demand proof of copyright. It just seems like the decent thing to do if someone is going to go to the trouble of sending me an email.

My blog is a photo blog, so I have the utmost respect and admiration for photographers.  I wish EVERY one would add a small watermark so their work would get the recognition they deserve.  And if they want to ensure their pics are not republished, then put a huge watermark right across the face of it… the way commercial photo sites do. I'm a lazy blogger, I don't go scouring photog's sites to steal pics for nefarious purposes, I pick them up wherever I find them.  I understand that copyright rules apply no matter the source, but there is an element of intent that a couple that have commented so piously have misconstrued.  Do you really think we are all just out to infringe copyrights wherever we can and undermine the creativity and commercial potential of the photogs?  Gimme a break!  Posting a 600x800px 24bit pic is NOT going to sabotage any commercial opportunities of photogs, which is not to suggest that a photog's copyright should not be infringed upon, but let's put it in perspective.  But EVEN if there is a proven copyright infringement, intended or not, Google provides the ability to block specific photo url's from being displayed in searches.  AND... one of the most ridiculous things is that you cannot search for specific pic filename in Picasa, a company owned by Google since 2004...

The grey area of copyright is what constitutes Fair Use. Stanford U is often referred to as being a leading authority on this issue... click here.  Stanford and every other resource refers to “Four Factors” to measure Fair Use;

  1. the purpose and character of your use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market.

Nonetheless… I don’t know any blogger that would not want to rectify any infringements, because it is just good blogging practise.  Copyright infringements SHOULD be rectified, but deleting 100 pictures when 1 is in violation of copyright does not make sense.  If all 100, or 75, or even 50 are proven to infringe copyrights… then a blog should be closed… but call it what it is… don’t just say it is a Spam blog!

A final comment about sensationalizing this and trying to suggest some “homophobic conspiracy”…

Increasing awareness and trying to gain some understanding through dialogue is the only reason I am speaking up on this matter.  As a blogger, I just want to be clear about what the rules are, and I want to know why gay blogs closed are virtually all being closed because Google has declared them Spam blogs.  Why are they Spam?!?  I don’t want to do the same thing!

Is this happening more to gay blogs than it is to straight ones?? I don’t know!  All I know is that EVERY one of the gay blogs I have seen closed, that I know personally, do NOT fit the definition of a spam blog.  Why the 3x increase in rate of closures of gay blogs in the past year?  Is the same happening for straight blogs??  Google is the ONLY one that can answer all this by releasing their statistics and providing more information about why blogs are being closed. 

If you really believe all this is being played up… spend a bit of time on Google’s Help Forums… tell me that any of it makes sense and that you have a clear understanding of why gay blogs are being closed… and then look at the straight ones.  Tell me that you are clear that this document clarifies anything - Google's Terms of Service.  Read this before you visit the forums - Blogger's Content Policy

I’m obviously missing something in all of this -  TELL ME!

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