Tumblr’s Andrew McLaughlin on Digital Sharing Without Stealing

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
May 23 2012 2:40 PM

The Web’s Copyright Conundrum

A Tumblr executive on how to share great stuff online without committing theft.

Tumblr Logo.
Tumblr Logo

Tumblr.

For publishers and content creators, Tumblr exists at the heart of one of the Web’s great dilemmas. On the one hand, the micro-blogging social network can act as force-multiplier that expands the reach of content, in the same way that aggregator sites and Facebook and Twitter do. But that’s offset by the reality that copyrighted material can be posted without credit or financial benefit to the original publisher.

Tumblr Vice President Andrew McLaughlin says the company takes these copyright questions seriously, with a team of people standing at the ready to take down content when publishers ask. And he tells Slate’s Jacob Weisberg that Tumblr is  working on ways to turn its traffic into something of value to content creators around the Web.

You can watch Part 1 of Andrew McLaughlin’s interview, in which he talks about the uncommonly positive vibe on Tumblr. In Part 2, McLaughlin discusses the steep challenges for American tech companies in China. In the days ahead, look for one more installment, in which McLaughlin answers Slate readers’ questions.