Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Content Curation" A Fad Word To Elevate Copyright Infringement

I hadn't heard the word "curation" being used outside of the context of Art History PhDs working in museums to pamper the artistic heritage of our civilization until this year.

"Curation" is now used everywhere to describe the practice of assembling images from other websites without permission of the author.

A museum's curator bears the responsibility of a museum's budget, and the cataloging and maintenance of a valuable and irreplaceable art collection. An "online curator" does little more than pick out some pictures out of Google Images searches, labeling them with nonsense like "I like this!" and stuffing them in folders titled "things I like." While the museum counterpart does her work anonymously and quietly in the background, the online "curator" seeks to impress other "curators" with her fine taste in jewelry and easter eggs, seeking the immediate approval of "followers," "likes" and "repins." One makes carefully considered decisions in consultation with a board of directors, the other is a mouse-click away from grabbing other people's content and giving it away to Ben Silbermann.

Unbelievably, there are people that take this ridiculousness so seriously that the attribution of "curated material" is now a hot issue. What? No, really, I'm not kidding. Attribution is a hot issue with those self-styled "curators." They are trying to sort out graphical symbols to show that the material is attributed to its author... or... I hope you're sitting down... its discoverer! That's right, credit to the person who "pinned" or "curated" the image in their "things I like" folder is considered an academically valid option. Meanwhile, the fact that this "curation" is nothing but shameless copyright infringement seems to evade their discourse entirely.

They are imbued with a notion that their "curation" is a benevolent promotion of the artist's work. They have no right to take this decision from the artist. In fact, because Pinterest shows full-size images, there is scant follow up traffic to the artists' websites, forcing the artists to compete not only against their own content, but a large pool of their own content blended in with the best of everyone else's. While all eyes are on Pinterest, making Ben Silbermann rich on other people's creative content, these eyes aren't on the blogs and websites of those that struggle everyday to make that content.

Curated internet content, preserving our glorious heritage for the web-archeologists of the future.

See also:
Curation: It's Shit
STOP Calling It Curation

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Old Watercolors

Some juvenilia from my archival stash of ancient art... you can already see my love of lead lines!

Suburban Gossiper:

Girl With Self-Cut Hair
fashion self-cut hair

Red Haired Woman With Shower Cap

Woman HIding Behind a Truckload of Makeup

American Woman

Oldie But Goodie
senior old woman

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pinterest Kicks Sand In My Face

Pinterest has hired a new lackey to handle DMCA take downs, and with that, they have a new form letter.

Pinterest is such an arrogant organization, it defies common human decency.

Here I am, sleep-deprived, six websites to recode to be able to curb pinning eventually, hiring a programmer to make me a copyright-detection crawler bracing for the hundreds of Pinterest clones already sprouting all over the internet landscape, greasy-haired, house a mess, a handful of projects in suspended animation. This is what these idiots have decided was fit to send me:

If this resolves your concern, please do not reply. While we love to hear "thank you", these messages create more work for us. Thanks for understanding - and happy Pinning.

First of all, I'm not the one sending them thank-you notes, because I have no time for that.

Secondly, are they really complaining to me about extra work? Are they kidding me?

Thirdly, happy Pinning, with a capital "P?" Really Pinterest, HAPPY PINNING?

Here is a picture I don't mind seeing pinned:

copyright infringement pinterest

UPDATE! My latest round of DMCA responses from Pinterest is now devoid of the offending sentences. It's back to dry business, as it should be.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jane Burden Morris, Still Needs Work!

She cracked, but I'll make another copy, as I have a mold. Below are the photographs of my prototype:

I have found a photo of her and I digitally superposed this image to my 3D version in order to increase her likeness in my next version.

I need to move the eyes a bit, lower an eyebrow, make the mouth smaller and lower. With the help of Photoshop. I can see what these corrections might look like, and decide whether I should alter the prototype in that direction, or even further in that diretion:

PLEASE COMMENT! Should I make the corrections or not? Below is the current version on the left, and the mock "Photoshop" changes I would make on the right.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pinterest Woes

Pin It Button

What a week it has been, and my misery in continuing with no end in sight.

I'm stuck to my neck in the copyright quagmire that is Pinterest. Pinterest is essentially Napster-for-Images, but maybe quite a bit worse and insidious. The swathes of colorful bunny, cupcake and fantasy wedding images barely conceal the noise of the copyright infringement party that Pinterest is encouraging.

Instead of creating new content (I have tons of great ideas that are waiting to be put on paper ans scanned into a patterns), I find myself standing alone on a barge having to face the cannons of an unstoppable pirate ship.

Until this Pinterest issue is settled, I am creatively paralyzed.

If you post images on the internet, expect them to be :shared:!"
I hear this frequently. If you write a song, put it on a CD, and Lady Gaga does a cover and makes millions from it, aren't you getting what you asked for by recording your song and putting it on a share-able medium?

Embrace it! Isn't it great publicity to have your work getting exposure?
That's not true for everyone. Some webmasters may get extra traffic, but the nature of my images means that I get literally no significant traffic from Pinterest. I have over a thousand images there, and last month I got exactly three visitors. You can't, however, just look at it from an individual perspective. Think of the collective of small mom-&-pop content providers like myself, and a competing website where all their images are collated and centrally viewable. The viewership that was once enjoyed by small content providers is now occupied on Pinterest, who will make millions from content stolen from artists and photographers. Is it flattering to have popular images on Pinterest? Yes, but only for a fleeting moment, one's heart sinks quickly when realizing this does not translate in traffic, but goes against your own self-interest. YMMV.

Aren't thumbnails FAIR USE?
Absolutely. HOWEVER - Pinterest stores copies of FULL SIZE images on their servers, that is NOT fair use.

Shut up and use the "no-pin" metatag!
No, and for a few reasons.

(1) There are now a few hundred Pinterest clones and you can't have every single webmaster chase them all and update every page of their website to stop copyright infringement from all these clones.

(2) The no-pin metatag pops up a message that I have no control of, which says: "This site doesn't allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!" - what is this, are they encouraging visitors to pester webmasters for the right to "pin?" I'd rather pop up a message of my own composition that is going to be less than flattering.

(3) It creates a "default" setting that all graphical content on the internet OPTS IN to being infringed upon unless they actively OPT OUT. This is absurd beyond belief.

(4)People read the warning, but they still have the ability to pin!

File a DMCA take-down notice, that'll take care of things!
Normally it does except that Pinterest doesn't remove the re-pins and the re-pins of re-pins, and you have to dig them out yourself. They do have a form for multiple submissions, but they've arranged it to sneakily discourage webmasters. A single malformed URL submitted, and the whole list is wiped out and you have to start again. They are doing everything they can to carry on like thieves.

The take-down procedure humiliates the complaining artist/photographer. First, a empty spot is left without the image, but all the details of the website the taken-down image comes from remain left behind. Second, this is the letter they send to the offending pinners:
I'm Ben, the co-founder of Pinterest. I removed one (or more) of your pins today at the request of a copyright owner who preferred that their images do not appear on Pinterest. The photo is here for your own records:
This is a rare - we usually find that people are excited to have their photos shared with a larger audience because it can drive traffic back to their site. However, when we do get requests to remove these materials, we try to respect the wishes of the content owner efficiently. If you have any questions, please email our Community Manager, Enid (

I just wanted to give you a heads up. Thanks so much for using Pinterest. I hope you're enjoying the site! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Pinterest DMCA #ID [...] - Ben and the Pinterest Team

"We usually find that people are excited to have their photos shared with a larger audience because it can drive traffic back to their site" WRONG WRONG WRONG I am not excited and I get not traffic. Is it my imagination, or is Ben Silberman himself giving infringing pinners the green light to infringe some more, because publishers are overwhelmingly thrilled by copyright violations? He's personally encouraging infringement. I'm not dreaming; though I wish I were.

Dummy, use the /SOURCE/ trick! Example: should have all your images listed.
Right now, my website has ONE image listed in this manner yet there are hundreds crawling in the vast Pinterest bowels.

The pinning and re-pinning process is tentacular and a veritable nightmare. If A pins a picture, and B repins it, A has 1 repin. If C repins from B, A still has 1 repin, not 2 from the "grandchild" repin, and B has 1 as well. Every time I find one image, I find 10 more that it links from, and that it links to, and then I have to hunt down the grandchildren pins, the great-grandchildren pins, parent pins, grandparent pins... ad infinitum.

Like this:

Except that it goes on forever and I would need about 22 dimensions to express the full horror that is Pinterest.

And that's not all; many images are mis-attributed to Google Images. The other side of the coin is that I am starting to see people linking images to Pinterest as if Pinterest was the original source of the image! It is truly infuriating.

Did you notice the EMBED button? What is it?
Eh. That EMBED button allows any webmaster to repost the images that Pinterest has scraped through its indefatigable users and is hosting on their servers, on their own websites to be further infringed upon by yet another party! And guess what? There is no way to track those down, at all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jane is in the kiln! Jane is in the kiln!

My bust of Jane Burden Morris is being fired in the kiln right now. A chunk that cracked off, and was repaired painstakingly, apparently went into the kiln without re-cracking. This does not mean it will no crack again in the firing! I'm keeping my fingers crossed really tightly.

That's why I'm happy I went though the trouble of making a mold. Whatever happens to this particular ceramic embodiment of Jane, I can make another version in a faithful likeness - all I need is another bag of clay. Working from a large and complex rubber mold remains a technical challenge (I had to try three times to perfect the technique). I may be re-inventing the wheel as usual, but I haven't heard of other ceramicists using rubber molds, the standard molding technique being slip-casting in plaster.

Easter Egg For The Kids and Grandkids

Just a fun little Easter project to cheer everyone up. Click on the Easter Egg to reach the pattern page.

easter egg

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Fool....

This year I produced 21 versions of a pattern for a circle! There was a pattern for the moon, an orange, a wet telescope lens, a golf ball, an amber bead, a hockey puck an aluminium pie plate a ball of yarn and even a lime Jell-O mound... all just circles. I hope everyone realized it was April Fool...

Below is a screen shot of the prank.