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The Big Moment - Photos used without permission?

I found out today that Blip's article The Big Moment, featuring a number of couples, including me and my husband, was uploaded to an online magazine called Bored Panda, by a fellow blipper I've never had any contact with.

He didn't ask my permission for my photos to be used and didn't alert me to the fact he'd done it. The first I knew anything about it was when I received an email this morning from the Daily Mail's Online photo desk asking if they could use my photos for a similar article on their site (I can only assume they were going to do a rehash of the article under human interest ). I did not grant permission.

I have asked the blipper who uploaded the article to Bored Panda if he had Blip Central's permission to do so and have also alerted Blip Central to this. I await responses from both.

I just wonder if any of the couples featured in Blips article were aware it had been used by Bored Panda and if their permission had been sought.

Damnonii

Official comment

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Hi folks,

My name is Andy Coffey and I am the Community Manager.

I apologise for any confusion caused over the Bored Panda article, which was posted on the 13th of February. Bored Panda is one of the social media channels that we use in order to share great content from Blip (alongside the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Google+). As in all these channels, we always attach a credit to the Blipper who created the content. That particular site requires the poster to use an individual name, hence why my name was attached to the piece.

The Big Moment idea - and the results that the community generated - has been really well received. However, we didn’t reach out to the Daily Mail to share the story with them.

As you know, we never give out details of any of users to the press without express permission from the Blippers themselves. It seems on this occasion that the journalist has reached out to a small number of Blippers directly by using the email address that they chose to include on their profile page.

Normally publications would come directly to us, allowing us to agree usage (or not), unfortunately this did not happen on this occasion.

Once again I’m sorry for any confusion caused and please feel free to contact me at andy@polaroidblipfoto.com if you have any further questions.

Kind regards,

Andy

Blipfoto Support

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60 comments

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I would not have given my permission either. I considered this challenge private to the Blipfoto community and to the other social sights like Facebook or Twitter to which the blipper has allowed Blipfoto to share their entries.

LadyFindhorn 0 votes
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I have contacted Blip Central too. I do not want my photo used without permission, and I do not want the link to my journal profile.

kagsy65 0 votes
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It's a total liberty. It's one thing for Blip to use our photos, given they've slid that into the Ts&Cs but it's a whole other ball game for some random blipper to share stuff without permission. I'd guess not a photographer or he'd have known better.

I hope you get some sort of response from Blip although I dare say it's that whole closing the stable door after the horse has bolted thing. I'd take a guess that they will be of the view that any publicity is good for them whether they sell us out or not and zero action will be taken.

Shame on you. You know who you are.

LeeAnne 1 vote
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I'm disgusted in your behalf. I find the wording of the T&Cs rather conveniently ambiguous and it's one of the reason my participation on this site has diminished since July last year. It's pretty shoddy to preach the idea of treating each other "excellently", whilst also not bothering to practice what you preach. Manners cost nothing.

It also makes an utter mockery of the private journal innovation ... Blip Central has access to all content, private or no, and the T&Cs apply - so don't be lulled into a false sense of security that going private somehow protects you from this kind of media exploitation.
I'm fairly disgusted and upset on your behalf, as I know it has thoroughly dented your faith in Blip, and will impact upon your future enjoyment of this site.

DrTwitcher 0 votes
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Thanks for your replies.

I know making my journal private won't prevent my images being used by blip as the t&cs make it clear whose in control but it will at least allow me to (hopefully) have some degree of control over who sees my journal.

I'm just shocked that a fellow blipper would copy the entire article and post it to an online magazine as though it were his.

Still no response from him to my comment on his journal.

Damnonii 0 votes
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I was wondering where Blip Central were going with their Big Moment idea. I assumed this was part of their plan. I've had my images used in local and Internet newspapers before with Blip Central controlling the content as I know they want to regarding the Mailonline.

Since Blipfoto opened a Facebook account our images have been seen by a wider circle of people who haven't signed up to the "Be nice" regulation. Over 26,000 people have "liked" the article but that doesn't stop us feeling vulnerable to the possibility of adverse comments from outside a community we have learned to trust with our daily stories and pictures.

The doing of the project was such fun for a lot of us to take part in, it would be a shame if it has been spoiled by a thoughtless action.

clickychick 0 votes
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I found out about the Bored Panda article the same way that Dannonii did. I do not generally object to having my image used WITH my permission. I DO object to a blipper (or anyone) taking the liberty of uploading the article anywhere without my permission. I will contact Blip Central with this objection.

Wildwood 0 votes
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Oh dear. I assumed Blip would use the images for publicity and I don't mind that too much. They have to promote the site and did say they would be doing something exciting with the project once finished. It is weird seeing them pop up everywhere though. My kids saw my photo on Facebook on Zooey Deschanel's page shared from her website 'giggles.com' there are 12 images shared there with over 12k views. I think it's safe to say we've gone viral. Great publicity for Blip which is good but I suppose not so great for anyone who didn't think through what how the project might be used ( I didn't) I'm sorry people are upset about this, it was such a lovely project to take part in, I think lots of us don't realise how public this all is as it feels such a safe and friendly community. That's the nature of the Internet I guess. But at the same time I can see why Blip would want to use them to promote their business, it's such a great project.

SarahK 0 votes
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It is outrageous that photos are being used like this without permission but I am not really surprised. When Blipfoto merged with Polaroid at the beginning of the year I was worried about this happening and almost decided to delete my whole journal but thought I might be over reacting, looks like I was not! I did decide to begin removing all my entries though and will keep doing this until there are ever only a few there at a time. I feel like such a mug now for taking out life membership last year, if only I had known what I was paying for! :-(

sylviacebula 1 vote
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I'm not as ready as some people to blame BlipCentral. From what you say it's an individual blipper who uploaded the whole article -- either through ignorance or just not caring about copyright. Completely out of order.

But I'm curious: how did the DM get your email address?

Veronica 0 votes
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Damnonii kindly contacted me last night to ask if I knew about this - I didn't, nor had I considered how Blip might distribute the project.

I feel ambivalent, Blip desperately need publicity, it was a terrific project with many lovely stories and images in it, but it is strange to think of the wider general public looking in and passing comment. I haven't looked at the Bored Panda site as another blipper let me know there had been some homophobic comments posted. In the end we are putting bits of our lives up on the internet, we have to accept that we cannot fully control who sees that information, or how they respond to it.

I would take part again. Stuff the trolls.

SaraEvans 2 votes
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@SaraEvans I looked at the BoredPanda article and if there were any homophobic comments they must have been removed, because they're not there now. It was posted 11 days ago, so I expect it's dropped off the social media radar now.

I think if BlipCentral are going to post items on third-party sites, they should make the copyright situation much clearer. Pretty pictures on Twitter and Facebook are one thing, but a whole article with very personal photos is different.

Veronica 0 votes
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Hi Andy,

Thank you for your apology and your reply. I appreciate both. Just some points I would like to make.

There’s nothing on your Blip profile indicating that you are a member of staff (I believe blip staff journals usually display a certain icon indicating staff member), otherwise my reaction to the Bored Panda article would not have been so angry. I genuinely thought an “ordinary” blipper had uploaded the entire article without permission.

Regarding the Daily Mail Online, technically they didn’t do anything wrong. They had seen the Bored Panda article, uploaded by, as you state, an individual (as opposed to an organization such as Polaroid blipfoto), they wanted to run a similar article and they contacted me (and others linked in the article) to ask my permission to use my photos, I refused and as far as I know, they’ve respected my decision. All above board there.

No, what has shocked me is that as part of the promotion of the Big Moment article, Polaroid blipfoto didn’t just promote the images I’d agreed could be part of the article, it promoted my entire journal by providing a direct link to my profile page. When I took part in the Big Moment feature, I was aware that Blip would be using it for promotion purposes. To me this meant using the images I’d included in the feature, I just wasn’t expecting a direct link to my profile page and entire blipfoto journal. This has left me feeling entirely exposed.

Now I know that my Blip journal is out there on the internet for everyone and their dog to stumble upon, but there’s a world of difference between that and my entire journal being promoted on social media.

This brings me your suggestion that I do not display personal details on my blip profile. As far as I am concerned, I don’t. Blipfoto is a social site build around its members and the community they share and the friendships that develop. It is social networking by any other name, and in order to do that effectively, people have to be able to contact one another. With this and internet safely in mind, I deliberately choose to have an email address in my profile that does not contain my name so that anyone contacting me does not have any personal details of mine, unless I choose to reply. In this instance I am glad to have had that email address on there, otherwise I would have had no clue that the Daily Mail were sniffing around. I have no plans to remove it from my profile.

In the end, I guess my own naivety led me to take part in what is a truly wonderful article, without fully realising the consequences. I am sad that I have opted to no longer be part of the Big Moment but the access to my entire journal as well as the idea, however unlikely, of ending up in a Daily Mail article, written in such a way that it looks as though it’s their own article (as I have no doubt that's how it would be) that I’d chosen to contribute to, makes me shudder.

I have learned a valuable lesson here.

Damnonii 3 votes
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@Veronica I made my journal protected yesterday after I realised my entire journal was being promoted and not just the images in the article.

As has been confirmed, it was a staff member who uploaded the article to Bored Panda, I just had no way of knowing it was a staff member from their journal.

Damnonii 1 vote
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It certainly would have been nice if Andy had contacted each of us to let us know this was going to be pasted all over the internet ... I regret participating in what I initially thought was a cute project limited to the Blipfoto community. If I had known that my entire journal would be made public through this story, I would NEVER had participated!

DDW 0 votes
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@Damnonii: oh, I see. I thought it had been protected all along.

Knowing the full facts, Andy posting the article to BoredPanda is not a whole lot different from BlipCentral posting blippers' images to Facebook and Twitter (which they do regularly without asking the blipper concerned, it's in the T&C). When they link to a blip they are effectively linking to your whole journal, as any visitor can click to see more entries and your profile. I think we should all realise that if we participate in events like TheBigMoment or LoversofLight, then our photos are likely to be distributed more widely. That's a factor in deciding whether to participate (at least, it is for me).

Since the redesign the profile page has been a lot more visible than it used to be. That led me to remove some info from my profile, including, for the moment, my email address, although I might put it back again.

Veronica 0 votes
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@Veronica I get what you're saying Veronica but one of my issues is there is nothing on andy's journal to advise he is blip staff (there's usually an icon) As i said in my reply, if there had been, I would have been less alarmed.

Also according to Andy, Bored Panda doesn't accept articles from "business accounts" so he used his personal account to "generate content" there. Call me cynical but I suspect that's partly the reason his blip journal doesn't have a staff icon.

All that aside, I hold my hands up to being a tad naive and as I said, lesson learned.

Damnonii 0 votes
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@Damnonii Oh yes, I absolutely agree that Andy should have made his status clear from the outset. And BoredPanda may not be an appropriate place to promote Blipfoto if it specifically disallows "business accounts".

Having said that, I wonder how visible BoredPanda is as a social media site? I suspect it has fewer users than Blipfoto :) (judging by the number of comments and the fact that I'd never heard of it before this)

Veronica 0 votes
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@Veronica I'd never heard of it either but after a bit of research (google ;-) It would appear it has 3.5 million followers. The Blipfoto article had 54k views so pretty visible I'd say. Certainly visible enough for the Daily Mail to pick up on it.

But that said, I love Blipfoto and I love the community here. I will just be more careful in future.

Damnonii 0 votes
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The Big moment ended up on Facebook and it received som unpleasant comments from people I do not know. It had purportedly come from an e magazine called Archtechture and Design? I com plainest to blip central. They didn't mention Bored Panda and denied being behind it saying that someone had photographed the original and used it and it was beyond their control. Rather limp I think. I was naive to think this was a bit of fun just for blip users to view. I'm saddened. I certainly wasnt asked nor did I give my permission. I don't mind people seeing what I posted. But the rude comments about my husband were not acceptable!l

Jeanneb53 0 votes
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This is really sad. I'm sure BlipCentral meant well, but they really didn't think this through. I wouldn't choose to participate in something like this, but the original announcement gave the impression that it was something to celebrate within the blip community -- a welcome move after all the recent bad feeling. They were asking people to share personal photos and thoughts/feelings. That works in this small space because the blippers who contributed are known to others in blipland. So it's like sharing special moments with friends. Sharing them with complete strangers on other sites is a whole nother ball game. Share something like this on Facebook and there's always going to be someone who makes a sneering wisecrack about a stranger, before forgetting it and moving on to the next item in their timeline.

And the result is that more and more blippers slam the doors of their journals, making them private. I can understand why those in this thread are doing this. I probably would too. But Blip's openness is being gradually nibbled away. Soon BlipCentral won't be able to promote it to outsiders because most journals will be locked behind closed doors.

Veronica 0 votes
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@ Veronica

That's provided that private/protected journals are exempt from the sharing described in the Ts&Cs. If they are then I expect a few to follow suit down the private route.

If they're not exempt then it's just another useless function that leaves people with a false sense of privacy which in fact doesn't exist.

I'll let you know what the response is.

LeeAnne 0 votes
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@LeeAnne

The answer I got from Blip Central is if an account is protected and not available for the public to view, then it will not be shared.

@ Veronica

I totally agree. I have made my journal private now and it completely goes against the grain for the reasons you state.

I think Blip Central and Blippers are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. You want to promote the site to others but at the same time you don't want negative / unwanted attention but once it's out there, it's out of everyone's control.

Damnonii 0 votes
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@ Damnonii

Yes... I just received this response:

"If a user has their Journal protected then we would not share their images. Indeed, even if a link was posted (which we wouldn't do) to Facebook, twitter etc, then the image would not show up due to the protected account settings."

That totally works for me. Problem solved. It goes against the grain a little and pretty much puts paid to making new blip friends. It's unlikely Blip will ever want to share my gobshitey journal but I like the fact that they can't/won't if it's protected.

Imagine if everyone did that...

LeeAnne 0 votes
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Just made mine private too. I was having a little break from daily Blipping, not really sure if I will return - I'm not making a grand gesture or anything, I just feel like it's not the same place it was and I have lost some trust.

That's progress I suppose, some folk will always get left behind when things change - I'll see how I feel in a few weeks.

kagsy65 1 vote