Sit down please. Take a deep breath. You are entering Californian Web 2.0 airspace. This is where the future is invented. We don't normally bother with stuff outside the UK but the web is global. This is a new publishing model (well, OK Rankin's "Dazed and Confused" did kind-of get there first, but as usual Brit innovation has been honed by someone else). Here is what Pilfered magazine says about itself:
"PILFERED is a place where art buyers, photographers, artists and designers alike submit their favorite visuals pilfered from the web to share with one another. Founded on the spirit to inspire and aid in communicating ideas and concepts, PILFERED Magazine aims to assist in speaking the thousand words - visually."
Yes, you read that right. Pilfered fills its pages with images stolen from around the web.
"Its founder, artist Patrick Hoelck, and his team (Nate “Res” Harvey & Mia Van Valkenburg) spent hours in the past surfing the web to put together presentations for various commercial ad and editorial jobs. Patrick quickly noticed the hours it took to gather the images and felt it was time to have a massive image collective shared by the people for the people to make this process easier and a lot more fun. His initial description of PILFERED was 'It will be the of wikipedia of images'".
"Teaming up with new media and advertising creative director RUDJ, the two hope to build PILFERED into a destination for creatives to share, discover and participate in the dialogue of a new, exciting and forever changed landscape.
• Content on PILFERED is submitted from around the world and carefully edited by an in-house team, as well as a new monthly guest editor to keep issues cutting edge, fresh and informative.
• Contributors will be credited if their submitted images are chosen for a given issue. As the monthly grows, PILFERED’s goal is to provide exposure for photographers, designers and artists alike.
WELCOME TO PILFERED MAGAZINE - By the people, for the people."
That's "By the people, for the people, without the permission of the people whose work is used".
It says a lot about the mentality of today's creatives that they view this as cutting-edge cool, a brave cultural adventure in 'sharing' that ports web anarchy to real-life. It's not that the idea of sharing is in anyway bad, quite the contrary - we all love to look at inspirational work. But trampling the copyright and moral rights of the people who made the pilfered work is wanton selfishness,
It's also unlawful, even according to Pilfered's own policy. Which says you may not "infringe the intellectual property rights or other rights of third parties, including trademark, copyright, trade secret, patent, publicity right, or privacy right". That whiffs of a get-out-of-gaol clause so founder Hoelck can shove the liability onto whichever clueless 'sharer' uploaded the work, when Pilfered get sued stupid for infringing against some US-registered copyright image.
Why not simply ask the photographer if he or she wants this sort of exposure? Of course the danger of that is they might say no, then Pilfered would be Empty. The excuse seems to be the pervasive touchstone myth of Photography 2.0, that exposure is its own reward, that success is an ethereal magic that transcends all requirement to pay the rent. Or rather, some other sucker can pay.
Even if it were true (how many photographers can you name who owe their enduring success to being robbed?), Pilfered's preparedness to publish work without bylines reveals just how abusive the relationship really is. The 'rights' of consumers to eyeball completely trump the rights of photographers even to be granted the minimal reward of identification. There's a salve to residual bad conscience at the 'credits' page, where readers are asked to ID the lucky featured photographers' orphans. Predictably, hardly anyone bothers, they just congratulate Pilfered on the generosity of the idea. LOL etc.
This smug, selfish wankers' 'innovation' reminds me of a line from Steely Dan's 'The Royal Scam' : "Show business kids making movies of themselves, you know they don't give a fuck about anybody else". No doubt they'll get around to 'MUGGED', 'RAPED' and 'SCAMMED' if that strikes them as fun, too.