Photo: imgur via BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed is a great source for cute animals photos. If you want to see the 25 happiest animals in the world or adorable pictures of rabbit bathtime, it’s a must read.The Atlantic wondered where all of the troubled otters and pretentious horses come from after noting that only two photos on an entire BuzzFeed list were sourced.
Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti hopped on a call with the author to discuss. From what he described, BuzzFeed does everything in its power to source the photos, but some have been passed around so much online that the original uploader or rights owner is essentially impossible to find.
We ran into the same issue when posting a photo of the saddest puppy in the world. It appeared on at least 10 different sites and after emailing around, the initial source was still nowhere to be found.
Which means BuzzFeed, and all its amazing photos, maybe have the same problem that is plaguing Pinterest.
Copyright laws are seriously lagging in the digital age but, where they stand now, many photo sharing sites may be violating them.
BuzzFeed pays for licensing rights to Reuters, AP and Getty Images, and many other things it posts are unearthed from Tumblr, Pinterest and 4Chan, says Peretti.
Users on those sites are encouraged to only upload pictures they have the rights to, but of course users don’t always abide.
“Peretti is willing to make a Fair Use argument that goes like this,” The Atlantic writes. “Peretti told me that he considers a BuzzFeed list — its sequencing, framing, etc — to be a transformative use of photos. That is to say, including that unattributed photo of the otter in that list was OK because its inclusion as an ‘extremely disappointed’ animal transformed the nature of the photo.”
“Is it good for the world to have a broad definition of Fair Use where people can create new things that are transformative or that people can enjoy? I think it is good for the world,” Peretti tells The Atlantic.