I know some of you have said you don't read Sploid much, but I wanted to get your opinions. Sploid authors (usually Jesus & Casey, but others too) frequently render animated gif images from the videos they feature in their articles. They then insert the Sploid watermark on these gifs. Scroll down the front page of Sploid and you'll see their watermark on a majority of the gifs. This brings up questions of intellectual property rights, copyrights, and ethics.

It raised an interesting discussion on a recent article, which can be found HERE, to include an explanation from Jesus as to why he does it. In a nutshell, he says it's because he puts a lot of work into making these gifs better than others and also wants to be sure to attract traffic back to Sploid when they're passed around.

So far it only seems to be happening on Sploid. Gizmodo has it's share of gifs, but I've yet to see any of them put a Giz watermark on them. I think it's interesting that it's only happening on Sploid. If you're going to do it, why not do it on every blog?

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A couple people in the discussion brought up Hollywood films. IIRC, I haven't seen this done to any gifs made from works that are undoubtedly copyrighted (e.g. movies), but I could be wrong. My guess is it's because they know that's too risky. I would assume a Hollywood studio would be more likely to go after someone for infringement than the average Joe who filmed himself doing something interesting.

Personally, I'd like to see it stop. Spending time (any amount of time) making a gif doesn't make the original content yours. I don't have a problem with the creation of the gifs themselves, "fair use" is one thing. What bothers me is that Sploid suddenly claims the content as their own (via watermark) just because they took time to cut out a few pieces and reformat them. Then they use it to generate revenue by attracting traffic back to the site with their watermark (which Jesus admits is its intended purpose).

So, do you find anything wrong with this?

Here's a nice explanation of derivative work on legalzoom: What are Derivative Works Under Copyright Law?