Tsu's Response to Copyright Infringement
In my previous post I mentioned concerns about copyright infringement on Tsu. Now it's not the only social network to be plagued by people uploading content they don't own. It's just that when a site is supposed to be paying for original content, it does tend to put a spotlight on infringement to see somebody earning money for work that some other person did. It really underlines the theft that anyone commits in using content without permission.
In response to discussions about copyright, one of the things Tsu has done is to change the coding on the site to disable certain functions associated with the right-click context menu. One of the results is that users can no longer right click on an image to save it. But it's also impossible to do a reverse image search with Google or TinEye, to verify if other users are uploading original content.
Can Images Be Stolen When Right Clicks Are Disabled?
Absolutely! It takes less than 15 seconds – and some free software that anyone can download – to copy an image from Tsu and add a new watermark to it. Let me show you:
1) Find and copy the original. I used one of my own posts, that features a picture of my father:
2) Crop the surrounding content:
3) Add a watermark and/or text to create a meme or inspirational graphic:
This is the original and the watermarked copy together. Can you tell the difference?
Had I been a nefarious individual bent on stealing, I could have done this with any image on Tsu. The most time-consuming part of this whole activity was taking the screen captures of what I was doing with the image, and writing about how the anti-theft measures on Tsu were so easy to defeat!
Identifying the Real Issue
Beyond the fact that disabling the right click doesn't prevent theft of Tsu images, it also does nothing at all to address the dozens upon dozens of Tsu users who, well-intentioned or otherwise, are stealing original works from Facebook posts, Google image searches and random web sites – on an hourly basis. It also prevents concerned users from locating and reporting copyright infringement. And that has a negative impact on the social dimension of the site, since conscientious users are hesitant to friend, follow or share when they suspect content isn't original.
The real issue is the culture of the internet, which unfortunately spills over into the culture of Tsu. It's a culture that assumes if I can see something on the internet, I can also use it as I will. People assume that since the creator still has her original work and a copy was the only thing taken there is no theft, and taking the image isn't wrong at all.
Tsu would be far better off to address the ignorance of copyright by educating its users, than to waste its time and ours by implementing measures that thwart those who want to do right and leave real cheats free to continue doing wrong.
I have already suggested that Tsu create a video that explains copyright and its infringement. Making the distinction between an ethical and legal means to share (e.g. posting the link to an artist's original work on a page where licenses and prints can be purchased) and infringement (e.g. uploading the image without permission and then giving credit or providing a link) is crucial to people changing their habits.
Were you aware of the difference? Do you feel that Tsu and other sites like it do enough to educate their users? What would you like to see done?
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/eye-woman-face-pupil-428390/