The Frogman

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The response from Imgur

As some of you may recall, I asked Imgur for $10,000.

I don’t think I’m getting that oversized novelty check.

I didn’t actually expect to get the money, but I did hope to start a conversation about their non-existent attribution system.

They did respond the next day and I thought that was nice. Here is what Sarah, the communications director, had to say about content attribution.

Hi The Frogman,

Congrats on the popularity of your creations! That’s exciting that you’ve gotten so many views.

We are currently planning to add an attribution system to the gallery. This feature is not yet ready for implementation, but we look forward to offering credit to those who deserve it once the system is perfected.

As you know, all images on Imgur are user-uploaded. While we hope that the user who uploads the material is also the copyright holder as we require in our terms of service, it sometimes turns out not to be the case. We cannot moderate every image that comes through our system, so the best we can do for now is to remove the image. We respond very quickly to DMCA complaints (usually within the same day). If you are unhappy with your images being displayed on Imgur, feel free to submit a DMCA complaint including the links to the infringing material and we will happily have all of it removed. I’m truly sorry that you have felt exploited by Imgur.

I looked at your website and read more about how this is “not about the money” for you. Believe it or not, it is not about the money for us either. Yes, Imgur has become a business and obviously we rely on advertising at this point, but it was started because we felt strongly about offering a free service for the Internet that we truly believe it needed. We allow people to share direct links with only the raw image (no advertising or even a link back to Imgur), hotlink images with no attribution and use our API freely because we believe useful service is more important than money. None of us have sports cars or fancy apartments, but, like you, we definitely purchase a lot of dog toys. 

Again, congratulations on your successful work. Feel free to write if you’d like to discuss anything further.

Cheers,
Sarah Schaaf
Director of Communications, Imgur

P.S. I’m very good at using semicolons; I’d be happy to help you learn. 

Sarah was nice enough to give me permission to publish this. I have a few additional thoughts.

In the past, I have contacted the creators of 9gag and a co-founder of reddit. All of their responses have been almost a formulaic copy of the above letter.

  • We are aware of the problem.
  • We are currently working on a solution to the problem. 
  • It’s our user’s fault.
  • You can request to have your images removed.

I will note that my conversation with reddit happened over 2 years ago and absolutely nothing has changed.

9gag did add a sourcing system but there is little encouragement to use it. Also, there is no way to change the source after the fact. You can only have the image removed. 

I can’t tell you how much of an asshole people think you are if you force them to remove an image. Plus, any chance at exposure is lost.

So that is where we stand.

They are working on it.

1 year ago

August 14, 2012
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