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

1 comment:

memomuse said...

Love this post, Very well written.