Siggies, Tags and Tubes – A Unique New Internet Art Form

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Siggies, Tags and Tubes - A Unique New Internet Art Form

A “Siggy”, “Sig”, Sig Tag” or SigTag” is an image used as a signature in forums and on emails. Closely related are “Tubes” (a tube is the removal of the background, while still leaving the main subject of the artwork intact). There is an entire internet culture based around the creation and use of siggies, tags and tubes. Countless people exercise their creativity creating miniature works of art (or maybe I should say modifying the art of others) while creating and maintaining communities of like-minded people.

I first became aware of siggies, tags and tubes when I began to be approached by a series of people, mostly “moderators”, of groups devoted to creating and helping others learn to create these uniquely internet art forms. I have a large number of concept stock photos and funny animal pictures on my site that are perfect for making a new siggy.

Siggies, Tags and Tubes seem to be closely related to Incredimail and to a lot of people using Paint Shop Pro. Apparently a lot of PSP Tutorials are aimed at making these often highly creative e-mail, stationery, and forum signatures. Quite often the creators of these diminutive art pieces begin with work from another artist and then using digital manipulation, add their own twist to “borrowed” images they discover on the web. Sometimes the art will be stripped out from its background (a tube) or even animated.

There is increasing scrutiny on such groups for the abuse of copyright. Siggy forums and groups are responding by requesting permission from artists before using their artwork. They usually ask the artist to grant permission in the form of an email and supply a set of Artists Terms and Conditions. Siggy artists who are interested in using the work of professional stock photographers for creating their own signature tags and or tubes can usually obtain the rights as long as they conform to a few guidelines. Most photographers will want the creators of these e-mail and forum signatures to include their copyright notice and prohibit commercial use of the images.

They need to do this because often the stock images are already under contract to the stock photo agencies like Getty, Istockphoto, and Blend Images, and using the images for commercial purposes would interfere with the contracts the photographers have with the stock photo agencies.

For use of my own stock photos I also require a link to my site from the siggy creator’s site. Perhaps the fad will benefit me through branding or through increased sales of my images. Time will tell.

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