4: Ethical and Legal Issues

     There is no set code of ethics in the Tumblr community, the creators pretty much give users the freedom to post whatever they want. But in the blogging community at large (not just Tumblr), developing a code of ethics has become a hot topic. When it comes to Tumblr, the main ethical dilemma it faces are the issues that can crop up from publishing the work of other people. It seems that many Tumblr users employ the site as a sort of virtual scrapbook, “re-blogging” and posting media that isn't their own. “Re-blogging” involves pressing a button that simply allows users to re-post media that they found on a blog which they subscribe to, onto their own blog. By publishing the work of others, the person who created the original piece loses their association with their work. Even if a user posts their own original work, each time another user re-blogs it, the credit moves farther and farther way from its creator. Because of this, many legal issues can become a factor in blogging on the site.
     Re-publishing the work of others on Tumblr can bring up legal issues concerning intellectual property and copyrighted materials. When it comes down to it, if a blogger posts the work of someone else without that individual’s permission, then they are basically stealing, even if they properly attribute the creator. According to Bert Krages, a lawyer from Portland, Oregan who specializes in legal issues concerning intellectual property, “Even a minor usage of a photo on a blog can destroy the value of an image with regard to licensing it for other uses” (O'Neal, 2011, pD9). People re-blog media on Tumblr that they appreciate, so they should also respect the individual who produced the work. Getting permission from an artist to re-publish their work also shows support and allows them to continue working, it's a more genuine way for a user to demonstrate their appreciation. It would also allow Tumblr to continue operating without legal issues and criticisms threatening it.