Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Note On Blog Pictures

This blog began more than ten years ago.  Over much of its lifespan, especially as digital photography became more common and easier to use, I began to incorporate photographs into many of the posts.   Most of the pictures involve the kids their various sporting events, or sometimes  pictures of all of us on our rare vacation trips.

For reasons that are lost in the mists of time, I began using Photobucket years ago as my primary web-based photography storage application.  The site was a bit clunky and not perfect, but it provided a reasonably user-friendly way to organize and edit our pictures.  The site also was a lifeboat for some of the pictures we lost when the hard drive in our home computer died a few years ago.  For all that, I currently use only about 4% of my total storage allocation.

Photobucket recently announced and implemented a significant change in their operating practices.  Photobucket users may no longer use the photographs stored on the site on any other site unless the user pays a hefty fee (several hundred dollars annually).   The justification offered for public consumption is that Photobucket wants to clamp down on heavy commercial users who put up thousands of pictures on sites like eBay.  The collateral damage, however, is that any photograph  stored on Photobucket that is posted anywhere else on the Internet is now in violation of Photobucket's rules.  All of those photographs have now been summarily taken down, replaced with a stock Photobucket violation warning.

Perhaps it is churlish to complain about the operations of a "free" site.  However, for all of the on-site advertising I have to click through, I don't think I am doing  too much damage to Photobucket's bottom line.   Photobucket's  new policy is a ham-fisted way to deal with a specific heavy-user problem that harms and annoys far more people than it needs to. Photobucket could have put limitations on the use of pictures hosted on its site for commercial uses, but chose to ban all third-party site uses.  I host a relatively tiny number of photographs on the site, none of which  have been used for commercial purposes, yet all of my photographs have been swept up in the extortionate dragnet anyway.
An online photography host that does not permit the photographer to use any of those photographs is useless.   At some point in the future when I don't have anything better to do, I will start migrating all of my pictures to one of Photobucket's rivals.  Sometime when I have even fewer other things to do,  I will begin the slow process of finding each banned photograph in each blog post, identifying which photograph it was by file number, then reposting that same photograph from the new storage site.  It will be a tedious, obnoxious process.  However, I look at this blog site as something akin to a diary and photo memory book that I look forward to reviewing over many years to come.  The photographs are an essential part of that record, so to me it is worth the grinding tedium to rework years of blog posts to restore the photographic part of the record.  In the meantime, I apologize for ugly warnings where there should be wonderful photos.

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