This post is following on from a brief discussion on Twitter earlier today. It’s a subject I’ve been pondering and dwelling on for a while now.
Essentially I think the unattributed use of GIFs created by artists is out of control on social media. The lack of any kind of crediting or attribution is becoming a real problem.
This is just one that started this from Bran Dougherty-Johnson today https://twitter.com/bran_dj/status/786233104054693889 about James Curran’s work used in this way: https://twitter.com/theinclinepgh/status/786167126482522113 As Bran points out, just search ‘traffic’ in the Twitter app and there it is.
There are countless examples from artists where GIFs are being used directly from the Twitter app and also now with integration in ios10 messages. As far as I can tell, and I’m no expert, the API seems to pull in GIF content directly from Giphy (and others). If I compose a new tweet or message on my iPhone, it allows me to search for a GIF and use it without any kind of credit.
Presumably Giphy are making some money in allowing Twitter and Apple to use their software integration? But clearly the artists whose work is being used should profit from this too.
I while back I made the grave error of heading down a wormhole of using Google Reverse Image Search. I was utterly blown away by the amount of work of mine being used on websites and throughout social media without permission or any credit. Work that had been downloaded and used to promote something, in a blog article and even by a video production company that were using about 10 of my GIFs as work they’d created! They’d even modified one of my pieces and put their own logo inside it and were using it as their homepage logo. Naturally I got in touch with them and many others too, asking to take it down. Most did and their reason? Oh we found them on Giphy and just thought it was ok to use in that way. In total I sent about 20 emails to organisations using my work without permission. Another example, I came across a well-known magazine here in the UK who were using one of my pieces in a blog article. The only line of credit was ‘Giphy’.
This isn’t right in my view. Surely there’s a better way for this GIF problem to work where artists get paid something or at least proper credit, especially when inserting directly from Twitter. Why do I care? Well I try to make a living out of creating GIFs and if Giphy allows any work to be used for free, this is hugely damaging to the industry.
A month or so ago, I sent an email to Giphy explaining this problem too. I do have a relationship with them and have even done a small job for them a year or so ago. So I’m not trying to pick a fight, but the response I got from them was unsatisfactory and didn’t address any of my concerns.
What can we do? Does anyone have any other experience or solutions? Any thoughts?
Thanks for reading. Sorry it's so long!