A month or two ago I found myself reporting an image on Instagram for the first time. It wasn’t explicit content, it was mine.
The user had blatantly passed the image off as their own, their caption entitled along the lines of ‘just waiting in the hallway‘ or something of a similar phrase. They had garnered a few likes and compliments, but there was no credit to my account. Now, I’m not saying everything on the Internet should be 100% credited in textbook formality. I know there’s a variety of work out there unsourced or without an author (after all, I do use Tumblr), and that there’s work that’s shared without bad intention or adapted through art appropriation. But see, this user was one of my more regular followers who would like and comment on my posts, therefore, making them an active consumer and producer.
What concerned me is not only were they unquestionably aware of the source, but they even edited the image so it was more minimalistic (that is, stark white). I’ve had other sources share my images without consent, but they have always credited it (like local art contest Feck Art and clothing company FSHNBNKR) or acknowledged that it was not originally produced by them. Due to this awareness, I immediately asked the user to remove it or give the appropriate mention, and shared their account to my own feed in the interest of any other accounts that could have been effected (
at this point in time, my account was highly minimal/white/stylistic for a niche which I have changed recently due to this occurrence). The user did not apologise or explain why they did it (probably because I did mention a few copyright terms in my annoyance), but instead had what you would probably call a freak out and deleted all their pictures, went private, changed their username and removed their Tumblr link in their bio.
With this small event, needless to say I realised two things about the internet that day:
1.) People scare easy.
2.) People can scare you just as well.
When establishing content, you have to be hypersensitive to what you are uploading, publishing and producing as discussed in the symposium. Yes, publishers deserve their credit, and yes, the internet makes that extremely different and confusing. The question is; are you possibly offending, gaining or intruding by posting that? Or are you complimenting and appropriating a work positively? I think that’s what matters most.