Jerks At Gizmodo: Way Uncool

You might remember my post two months ago showing a Nikon D3 shutter release in super-slow motion, using original images ingeniously created by Marianne Oelund. With them, I created an interactive movie where you can scrub the mouse side to side, back and forth, progress the movie in either direction at any speed you like. I also described how she made the frames, along with some stats about the shutter timing and speed.

If you're at all into photography, it's fairly interesting, and it's been by far my most popular post, and two months later, it still gets thousands of pageviews a day.

No thanks, I might add, to the jerks over at Gizmodo.com.

I found out yesterday that Matt Buchanan, one of the editors there, apparently created and posted a non-interactive movie of my interactive application in action. This was a very un-cool thing to do. Yes, it was highly illegal because he had no copyright to do that, but the main problem as far as I'm concerned is that he dumbed down the interesting presentation I worked hard to create. It's interesting to interact with the shutter, er, interactively. It's interesting to see how Marianne made the frames. It's interesting to read some of the stats associated with this.

Matt and Gizmodo took all that away from everyone who saw their post who hadn't already seen mine. It was way uncool, and I didn't appreciate it. A big organization like them (they have fourteen editors!) should know better, if for no other reason that, well, it's illegal, but you'd expect even more clue from people who are supposed to “get” technology. Sigh.

People use/borrow/steal my content all the time and I've never been bothered too much by it, but the dumbing down really angered me, so I sent my first ever takedown request:

From jfriedl Wed Nov 12 07:28:35 -0800 2008
To: matt@gizmodo.com
Subject: please remove the video of my content
Reply-to: Jeffrey Friedl <jfriedl@yahoo.com>

RE: http://gizmodo.com/5045515/watch-a-5000-nikon-d3-dslr-fire-in-ultra-slow-motion

Hi Matt,

I don't know what possessed you to make a video of my D3-Shutter interactive experience, or what made you think that it was legal to do so, but in any case, I don't appreciate it. Please remove it.

You hide all the interesting/fun experience I created behind a bland movie, and you hide all kinds of interesting facts about it from the user.

If you'd like to keep the post with a link to my original post, that's certainly your prerogative, but please remove the movie.

Thanks,
      Jeffrey

I received a reply in short order: “Pulled the post.

That's it. No greeting, no discussion, no semblance of “sorry” or acknowledgement that what he did was uncool. Three words. Basically, a “fine then, fuck you” attitude.

He did pull the whole post instead of just his lame video, which I guess shouldn't have surprised me. I mean, if he cares so little about the readership of his site that he'd make and present a dumbed down version, I guess he shouldn't mind all the broken links to his site that removing the post has created.

What a jerk.

Hmmm, I wonder how much money Gizmodo made with my stolen content....


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

This is indeed very uncool. Your posts are well written and interesting, what they did was not smart.

— comment by Arnaud on November 13th, 2008 at 10:33pm JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Hi,

I do not follow gizmodo. Never impressed me and if you see that they have just ~3900 members, maybe they wanted to improve their statistics.

Their action is of course despisable. Asking for permsission to copy/use another
person’s work and always providing credits is the not just proper ethics but mandatory
when it is for public use.

Regards,

E.Sarmas

Thanks for the words of support, but I must clarify that their post did include a link to my post, burred at the end among some cryptic other links of dubious relevance. They became aware of my original post because they read about it somewhere, and the link to that “hey, this is cool, check it out” reference was placed ahead of the link to my post (and IIRC, the link to my post was titled simply “regex”). Lame. —Jeffrey

— comment by E.Sarmas on November 13th, 2008 at 10:42pm JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Man that is poor show from Gizmodo – copyright issues plague the industry and an org like that should be helping to fight that plague, not fan the flames!

— comment by Kevin Mullins on November 14th, 2008 at 2:51am JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

That is indeed illegal, and, even worse, impolite. The lack of anything like a graceful response puts a nail in the coffin, as it were. I also have never seen the appeal of Gizmodo or Engadget. As a gadget-freak 35-year old with disposable income, I think I’m their target audience, but all their posts just seem shallow. If I want info about cameras, I’ll go to a camera site; if I want info about audio equipment, I’ll go to an audio site, etc.

— comment by Zak on November 14th, 2008 at 8:06am JST (9 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey:

One slightly off-topic but perhaps important comment… You use the word “ingenuous” in your post when describing the work of Ms. Oelund. I believe you mean “ingenious.” The word ingenuous has an altogether different meaning, which you probably don’t intend.

Doh, fixed, thanks. Sadly, the spellchecker doesn’t help fix words that are misused, not misspelled. Thanks. —Jeffrey

Sorry you had trouble out of Gizmodo. I read one of their sister blogs, but left Gizmodo over the general lewdness.

Keep up the interesting stuff… 🙂

— comment by Greg Wellman on November 15th, 2008 at 5:00am JST (9 years ago) comment permalink

I’m an avid Gizmodo reader and also a fan of your side. Sad to hear about the illegality of the content posted. That is definitely not on since they themselves preach legal content distribution.

However with regards to the non-interactivity of the post that’s just how they post sometimes. It is also pretty standard that they have the source of their content at the end of the post. In fact that’s what led me back to your original post. So if you are a Gizmodo reader then I think it’s not a big thing.

The legal side of things still is though. Shame on them. I agree with you…it does make me wonder what other content that I’m looking at on Gizmodo that is illegal. Good on you for calling them out on it. And shame on them for being rather uncortious…which is another thing they preach. Looks like they need a refresher course in online ethics.

— comment by Lim on December 11th, 2008 at 11:39am JST (9 years ago) comment permalink
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