Why Bohemea.Tumblr Is Gone

Why Bohemea Is No More

In January I received an e-mail from Tumblr about my blog PussyLeQueer. I was told that I had received several DMCA* notices & that, if Tumblr received another, my account would be deleted. I wasn’t sure which account was at risk because PussyLeQueer wasn’t a separate blog, but another blog on my Bohemea account. I responded and asked if Bohemea, or SuicideBlonde, who also contributed to PLQ, were at risk and was told that no, the message was only in regards to PLQ. I attempted to gather more information about keeping my blog compliant so I could avoid future notices and was told vaguely to keep my blog as compliant as possible. I also asked if the warning was in regards to all posts, or only future posts, and was told that any future DMCA notice about a PLQ post would result in deletion, no matter what post it concerned.

At the time I had received notice of Tumblr receiving 4 DMCA notices, all to posts made on PussyLeQueer, over the course of 2 years. I have never received one for Bohemea. All the notices were about posts I made after finding them on another site, all were from a photographer. I think I could have contested a couple of them, but what happens when I receive any notice from any person involved in a photo that they don’t want the posted, is I delete it, without contest. For example, a couple of models have messaged me in the past and asked me to remove a photo of them. Technically they did not own the copyright to the photos, but I always took the photos off my blog. Of course, because the way Tumblr operates with the reblog function, I had no way to completely remove the photos from Tumblr. The only way a photo can be removed completely is by a Tumblr staff member. I actually think DMCA notices are good for copyright holders in regards to Tumblr. I couldn’t remove a photo completely; Tumblr could, and I don’t know that Tumblr would remove an image without an official request. Whenever I did receive a DMCA, I kept it and never posted another image by that photographer.

With the threat of deletion, I re-thought the way I used the PussyLeQueer blog. At the beginning, PLQ’s style was mostly similar to what I posted on Bohemea, just with full frontal. As it evolved, I saw it becoming more a place to showcase photographers, models and artists who wanted to gather a following. I wanted to promote these talented artists, so I revamped. I deleted most original posts from PussyLeQueer so it was mostly an archived reblog Tumblr and started PussyLesQueer. PLesQ became less a place to post photos of well known nude models by well known photographers in well known publications and more a place to promote artist-submitted photos.

I believe one of my talents as a blogger is presenting an image well, and choosing the best image from a set to share. Photographers, models & artists began emailing me selections and I would choose my favourites and share them. Credit was always included, and PlesQ became a very fun project. I’ve become friends with a wonderful mix of talents and been introduced to lovely new artists. PlesQ does still include photos from outside sources that were not directly submitted, but they always include credit to the site where I found the image. PlesQ is also a beautiful reblog Tumblr where I reblog images from fellow nude/porn Tumblr users, as well as artists who post regularly on their Tumblr and prefer to be reblogged.

I felt that creating PlesQ would avoid most of the risk of deletion. I was concerned PussyLeQueer might be deleted in the future, but the time I spent making both Tumblrs as compliant as possible made me feel safe. I didn’t think Bohemea was at risk, but Bohemea was also as compliant as possible. All photos that I found online included a credit back to the site where the photos were discovered. Photos that have lived on my hard drive for many years or were my own work were the only images that weren’t sourced. It is true that for a time I was not good about citing all my sources, but I always included credit with every image. My whole reason for sharing images online is so people can become fans of what I’m sharing. Models, photographers, publications, dates, titles: as much as I knew about an image was included with it when I posted it, and if an image was posted directly from a photographer’s site, or a publication’s site, it was sourced. If I found it on a forum or another blog, I didn’t source regularly until this year.

Here’s the thing though: that doesn’t matter.

On June 14th I received two e-mails. One stating that Tumblr had received a DMCA notice in regards to a post made on Bohemea, the second, sent 5 minutes later, telling me that my Tumblr had been deleted for repeat violations. I’m assuming, because I don’t know for sure, that because PussyLeQueer was a blog on my Bohemea account, that those violations actually did count against the whole account, and that the DMCA received on the 14th was considered a repeat violation, even though it was Bohemea’s first violation. There is also a chance that Bohemea had received prior violations that I had not received notice of. When I tried to gather information about the issue with PussyLeQueer, I sent Tumblr a list of the 4 violations PLQ had received and asked if there had been more that I didn’t know about, but received no response.

These are the images I posted on Bohemea that resulted in the deletion of my Tumblr: http://lookbooks.com/marketplace/streeters/news/vogue-spain-may-2013

I sourced the site. I sourced that exact link. If you follow it, you’ll see that there is a “Share on Tumblr” button directly on the page. It doesn’t matter though. The DMCA notice that Tumblr received was from Vogue Spain, the copyright holder of the images, who had every right to request that Tumblr stop hosting the images. It doesn’t matter that I used the source link correctly. It doesn’t matter that the site I sourced has a “Share on Tumblr” button. It doesn’t matter that the images still exist on another site. Tumblr was told that they were in violation, Tumblr had to react, and I paid for it because technically I had no right to share the images.

The only right you have to your images are as a copyright holder, or under fair use. DMCA notices can be contested, but the process is incredibly invasive and detailed. I would have to provide all my personal information just to prove that I had a right to share images that I don’t even want to share if the copyright holder doesn’t want them shared.

So this is my quandary. 99% of my Tumblr experience has been people thanking me for promoting their work, or fans thanking me for sharing/identifying/detailing images that they hadn’t seen/knew nothing about. I am positive that I have sold multiple copies of magazines, movie tickets, DVDs, books, clothing, etc, and I have never made money from my blog, not even via ads. All I wanted to do was share beautiful images and create fans of the media I love.

This doesn’t make me exempt from copyright laws though. Just because I didn’t mean to upset Vogue Spain, or the handful of photographers I have in the past, doesn’t give me the legal right to share the images they own. It does, however, make it shitty that I was deleted because, as it has been noted many times since this happened, I was an excellent provider of photo credit and I sourced most images and most of the people whose art I shared either didn’t mind, or were grateful that I brought attention to their work.

I don’t blame Tumblr for deleting me. I didn’t pay for my space on their site; it didn’t belong to me. It hurts a lot though. Bohemea wasn’t just other people’s work, it was information, it was research, it was reactions, it contained my words, and some of my own original images, and now it’s gone. Five years of chronicling the art I consumed and the way I reacted to the art has disappeared. I feel as if my journals, pasted with inspiring images and poetic little vignettes has been taken away, and I literally have no one to blame. I was doing what many Tumblr users do, joyfully and with no ill-intent, Tumblr had every right to delete me, and copyright holders have every right to protest the un-consented sharing of their images.

I don’t know what advice to give to other users who share images they didn’t create or didn’t receive written consent to share, which are the only two sure-fire ways to comply with Tumblr’s rules. I was told that reblogs do not count against you, so you can reblog whatever you like, even if you know it’s an image that shouldn’t be shared, and you won’t risk deletion. Including an outside source seems to be something that people think keeps them safe, but it doesn’t. Just because you posted an image and linked to where you found it doesn’t mean the copyright owner can’t contest you sharing it.

I imagine not being popular helps, but who doesn’t want to be popular? I fucking loved being a popular Tumblr user. I had over 100,000 followers. I had thousands of people a day looking at photos I wanted to share and reading my words. I was a celebs and portrait tag editor. I was interviewed! I was in a magazine! A famous artist created a beautiful banner for my blog! Famous people followed me and reblogged from me! It was intoxicating. It was also a huge contributing factor to my deletion. If I wasn’t popular, when I shared images, they wouldn’t be widely circulated and the copyright holder wouldn’t have found them.

People have asked if I’ve asked Tumblr to reinstate my blog. I did respond initially because I thought it was a mistake, that only PussyLeQueer should have been deleted. I asked if they would un-delete Bohemea and received no reply. Many users messaged Tumblr in protest (which is so sweet and wonderful), and nothing has resulted. I don’t believe they will reverse their decision. In the e-mail stating that Bohemea was deleted, I was told that future blogs would be deleted as well. I have no idea what this means. Future blogs created with the email address I used to create Bohemea? Future blogs similar to Bohemea? Any future blog belonging to me? I already have another blog, is that one at risk? I have no idea, and I don’t think asking would result in a definitive response. This sudden deletion is something that is happening to other users as well. One told me that it has happened to them after receiving only one DMCA, and another said that their Tumblr was deleted with no notice or reason.

I do know that I loved Tumblr. I was a very early user, and very loyal. I brought users to the site, I promoted it, and I was happy to be a part of its community. I felt rewarded for my loyalty by being made an editor of two tags; both responsibilities were given without my asking, and at different times. I felt safe, I suppose, at least I felt like Bohemea was safe, because as silly as it sounds, I felt like a part of Tumblr.

Now that I cannot be a part of the Tumblr community, I must remind myself that, while I’ll miss its users, I am not the site that hosts my images. My words, my tastes, my interests are mine, and now I have to find another place to share them. I’m not going to return to Tumblr as Bohemea, partially because I can’t, but also because I don’t feel welcome. I’ll keep Pussy les Queer running until I find another site to host, and I’ve created a reblog Tumblr so I can keep in touch with my Tumblr user friends & still reblog the inspiring images they share. All my original posts can be found on the links provided below. I hope those of you who followed me on Tumblr will follow me on other sites as well. I’m still Bohemea, just inhabiting another corner of the internet.

Here are all the places you can find me:

WordPress: LesBohemea (This is where I’m going to try to be Bohemea again. It will be similar to my Tumblr.)
Twitter: Bohemea
Facebook: Bohemeea
Flickr: Bohemea & Suicide Blonde
GoodReads: Bohemea
LetterBoxd: Bohemea
Tumblr: Pussy les Queer
Reblog Tumblr: LesBowie
E-mail: lesbohemea@gmail.com (bohemea.tumblr@gmail.com & plq.tumblr@gmail.com are still active as well)

*A DMCA notice is an official note stating that a post made on a site is in violation of the copyright holder’s property. Since Tumblr hosts all the images posted on it, copyright holders must contact Tumblr to have their work permanently removed. When Tumblr receives a DMCA notice, they remove the content, then send a copy of the notice to the user who posted the copyrighted work that contains the name of the copyright holder and a link to the post that was removed (even though that doesn’t really matter because the link no longer works). In the notice, you are told that you can contest the violation if you feel it is in error and are also warned that repeat violations can result in deletion of your account.

Find me now on my new site Les Beehive!


19 thoughts on “Why Bohemea.Tumblr Is Gone

  1. the one thing i will say that i found frustrating about your tumblr was the way all of your images linked back to your tumblr’s home page, rather than a larger version of the image. i think it could have made it appear like you were claiming credit, even if they were sourced properly.

    • Thank you for reading this super long post & for your input. That was frustrating for me as well, but I hated when images I posted were reblogged & the information was removed, so I thought, well, at least if I’m the source, people can find credited images by coming to my Tumblr, which didn’t work because the source didn’t go back to the original post, but just to my main Tumblr page. If no source was given, then the images linked to the larger version, and you could always right click & open up the larger version, and my Tumblr hosted large versions of the photos.

      The issues with how people use the source link isn’t the problem though, the problem is that people need to understand that even sourcing where you found an image doesn’t make you exempt from receiving DMCA notices, direct permission must be given from the copyright owner.

  2. Bohemea,

    As a long-time lover of your blog, this is SO SAD! i think Tumblr should rethink the way they respond to DMCA violations. I understand they have to protect the copyrights and whatnot, but if the link said “share to Tumblr” and that’s what you did, then it’s IMHO it’s TOTALLY unfair to say it was a violation!!! 😦

    Seriously. DEVASTATED! I will follow you on WordPress absolutely!!!

    • Such sweet words! Thank you!

      I can’t blame a site for protecting itself against copyright violation issues, but it definitely stung to lose all my posts. Luckily because reblogs of my posts aren’t deleted, I still exist as a sort of sexy ghost on Tumblr. 😉

      Thank you for taking the time to read this & for your encouragement. It means so much.

  3. Pingback: New post on my tumblr: This makes me so sad that Vogue Spain shut down a blogger fan… | NadiaThinks

  4. I feel extremely sad for this incredible loss. Seriously, you were the reason I joined Tumblr, met many wonderful artist and start enjoying photography and overall art in a completely different way. I believe you are an artist, a curator that can create a beautiful universe in a blog. A place where things get involved with each other in complex ways and the result is more and different than the sum of it’s parts. That being said (and pardon my crappy english) I believe Tumblr can delete your blog, yes, and I am sorry for all of those who didnt have the luck of meeting you yet, but I’ll follow that fucking-sexy-amazing-clever-sparkly universe wherever you choose to create it. More than a crush (which of course I hhave, big time), I developed a silent loving for the objects of desire you presented to explore. Big kiss all the way from Argentina. L

  5. Yours was possibly the very first tumblr I followed when I joined in 2010 (back when there were ‘categories’ of blogs and I found you & SB in the LGBT spotlight), so it was really sad for me to see it deleted. I used to roll my eyes at a lot of celeb culture/admiration, but your enthusiasm for celebrities as themselves and not simply their beauty or their misfortunes made me feel like caring about them was ok again. After following you for awhile it became obvious we had similar tastes so I actually checked out a lot of films and shows that I would otherwise not have known about, or might have ignored. So, thank you for that. And also thank you for following me back during the time you were doing the monthly photo challenges — you definitely gave me a serious signal boost (I remember gaining 200+ followers in a day after you reblogged one of my images!) as well as a creativity boost, which came at a time when I was not feeling too good about myself as a photographer, and helped probably more than you know.

    After reading your story I am now much more afraid to share images that are not my own or are not licenced for creative commons… which is sad, but there is enough varied and interesting content on the tumblrs I follow that I don’t feel my blog will be terribly changed by only posting my own work or reblogging, unlike your blog which was basically a crux of tumblr (so many times images from your tumblr popped up on my dash by people who didn’t even follow you)! It is upsetting that you have no way of archiving everything you posted over the years — as you said, it is like losing your journal or scrapbook, and being left with only vague recollections of the thoughts & feelings & images you recorded there. But I’m glad to see you starting up again here, and look forward to reading and seeing more.

    -Jen [gunstreet]

  6. Tumblr recently deleted one of my blogs that had 30k followers without even informing me or the other admin. We didn’t get so much as an email, I just logged on one day and it was gone. The blog had had dcma reports in the past, but they were cleared up/the photos were removed. Nobody even informed us that this blog would be deleted, and tumblr support won’t return mine or the other admin’s emails. I’m really upset with the way they’ve been handling this. I put in a lot of time and energy into the blog, as I’m sure bohemea did as well! I’m not happy at all. I’m so sorry to hear about the way you were treated! This new policy is awful and I hope that tumblr fixes it soon.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this is happening to other people. I understand Tumblr’s need to protect the site from copyright violation issues, but considering much of the site contains copyright violation issues, it’s difficult to be one of the people targeted & the lack of communication is frustrating. Did you end up restarting a similar tumblr or moving to another site?

  7. Pingback: suicideblonde: Why Bohemea.Tumblr is gone – bohemea describing… | half-girl, half-robot

  8. This makes me so so sad Bo. You were tumblr to me. You were everything I thought a good tumblr should be. I am actually feeling really sad about this. What a shock. Wow. I don’t know what to say. But everyone on tumblr will miss you and it’s a lesser place because Bohemea will not be there 😦

    • That’s so sweet of you to say, thank you! I do worry for the Tumblr community as a whole because this is happening to other users as well. Things seem to be shifting a lot there.

  9. I feel sorry that your Tumblr got deleted like you weren’t playing a big role in the life of this site at all, which is obviously rather harsh, considering that you did credit stuff, especially recently, unlike many others still don’t even know what ‘credit’ means. As many people mentioned before me, you and SB from day 1 of me joining the site were a great source of providing inspiration, knowledge and just taste, really. So it does frustrate just a bit knowing that we’re not going to be shown all this great new stuff out there that we didn’t manage to notice ourselves…

    However, regrading this particular set of pictures, I can’t not notice that when you click on that ‘Share on Tumblr’ button next to the pictures, all it wants you to do is to share the link to that particular page showcasing the work of that particular make up artist (just done it myself for the experiment). Adding the photos to the post was not meant to happen (alas, you did attach the image). Obviously the make up artist doesn’t have the copyright for the photos, so stating them as the source wouldn’t have been enough for Vogue or the photographer himself to stay happy about that, as the page doesn’t even mention the photographer’s name at all, just the publication, which is just for the portfolio reason for the agency the MUA works for.

    As a photographer myself (especially trying to work in now highly popularised fashion industry) it’s really really frustrating when your pictures are scattered throughout the whole of internet having absolutely no trace back to you (especially if you’re not Mario Testino or Terry Richardson yet). When I found out about Tumblr, I thought what a great way to share your stuff freely, people can reblog and appreciate, what else would one need to feel loved/motivated! But with the time passing I noticed that people reblog and delete the photo’s description/credit and then on top of that make their own Tumblr as the source of the picture which by this time hasn’t got any of the original information left about it at all. That really does make me sad a lot.

    So from that perspective I definitely do understand where that photographer might’ve been coming from. And, obviously, any Vogue is a really strong machine to fight against about their own content.

    So I wish you the best of luck with the new curating and, just to be on the safe side, make sure to double check all the sources and stuff like that as am pretty sure WordPress could react in the same way if a complaint is to be made.

    (Sorry for the longest comment ever!)

    • Thank you so much for your kind words & encouragement.

      There is an option on the Lookbooks site to share the photo. It defaults to link, but when you click ‘Photo’, the photos are there as an option to share.

      Your point though, about how frustrating it is for a photographer whose work is shared & spread wide throughout the internet without proper credit is valid & well taken. Recently I had realized that, as a popular blogger, I had a responsibility to the artist to directly credit & share their work, especially, like you mentioned, the lesser-known photographers who need their name attached to their work so they can become known, which is why I created the new Pussy les Queer where I work directly with photographers & models. It’s not enough to source where a photo is found, and, personally, what’s happened is that I prefer to share photos the artists send me directly over photos I find on a blog or forum, it makes me feel awesome to know I’m helping a talent be more seen.

      But now I have an opportunity for a fresh start where I can feel less pressure to share a lot of content & instead share my own work as well as the work of people I know personally who want me to talk about & share their art. It feels much more satisfying creatively.

      Thank you again for reading this, for your input & for your respectful critique. It means so much that people are taking the time to share their thoughts.


  10. Very sorry to see this happen. I am an actor who became a tumblr user because of you and was inspired to pick up a camera because of you as well. It ended up getting me a photography credit (with one of my photos making the edit) on a documentary soon to be aired on HBO called Casting By. That resulted in me trying my hand at my own film production and directing. Your vision (and amazing commentary on TV shows) will be missed. But I will follow you and look at anything you think is worthy to look at. Thank you for sharing the beauty and I look forward to much more.

    Lawrence Ballard

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