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My content is your content

This quick edit of images from Syria below was done in a few minutes using a free web app called Storify. All I had to do was type in keywords into a search that covers Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, G+ and many more, select the images I liked and publish it on my blog. Done.
No worries about credit, image ownership, licensing rights or any of the gates that protect copyrighted images. Because those images are actually links to the original location of the photographs, I am not particularly liable for publishing them ( although the jury is still out on this issue).
Storify washes their hands of the whole issue by making the person selecting and posting the images responsible and liable for any infringement. A very common procedure in the tech world: “I supply the platform but you are responsible for what you do with it”.
Once in Storify, there are no warnings that the images you are using could be copyrighted and only the Flickr search has a “creative common” filter.
While Storify allows anyone to easily be a news aggregator, it also greatly facilitate the republication of photographs regardless of author’s permission. It is assumed, like in so many other places, that a published image, wherever it might be, is fair game to be borrowed, republished and reposted. While Storify keeps the link of where the image was first published, it does nothing to promote or expose the author’s credit.
The site apparently makes revenue by offering a paid “business plan” geared at heavy users and thus makes no revenue, yet, on the new aggregated stories created by its users. One can foresee they could very easily decide to add advertisement on those that generate the most traffic.
Big site, like, use Storify. As well as many other, I am sure.
While the intend of Storify is nothing bad – after all many very popular sites are aggregators – it nevertheless puts another brick in the wall of photographers access to revenue by ignoring basic copyright protection procedures. At the very least, they could have strong warnings about the proper usage of photographs.

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