Telegram sticker ecosystem is unhealthy

It becomes a place where people steal.

I fancy the sticker feature in Telegram a lot. That’s actually how I pitched groups of my friends migrated from other WhatsApp to Telegram — just solely because Telegram supports attractive stickers.

Of course, Telegram is actually a fast and secure instant messenger app with an insanely smooth user interface which is great itself.

Stickers are great at first

The first set of stickers was introduced in January 2015.

Telegram planned to offer stickers in for free:

All our stickers are and will be completely free, and you can always create and share your own stickers.

At first, there is only one official sticker set on Telegram — featuring historical figures.

Everyone can submit their own stickers

Since May 2015, artists can submit sticker sets to Telegram. I created a set of cat’s sticker with our own cats, and the sticker attracted a large group of friends starting to use Telegram.

Submitting stickers doesn’t require permissions nor approvals like Line / iMessage or other platforms do.

It’s awesome to encourage sticker creation and sharing.

Sticker distribution is kinda like collecting your private collection

Since there is no official store in Telegram, distribution of stickers becomes a problem. It appears loads of sites that list and distribute stickers for free.

Upon simple googling, I found many sticker catalog sites. They list out links to the stickers, where you can add stickers to your own telegram collection.

Problem: Stickers’ original creator has no way to stop from people who steals

Despite as Telegram mentioned, they wanted to create a open, free and limitless eco-system for stickers, it cannot ensure the stickers are published under consensus of the original artist.

Open and free stickers seem to be great for consumers. Everyone can submit stickers and others can add them with a public link.

Submitter != creator

At most of the time, those who submit the sticker might not be the original artist. Most stickers sets seen on Telegram were existing sticker packs cloned from other platforms to Telegram.

Some people my argue:

“At least the stickers are for free and it doesn’t be made profitable to anyone”

My point of view is, the concept is obvious: similar to freeware, being free doesn’t imply you have the right to use the original work without permission.

Real case: Stickers creator are offended

The Bac Bac’s Diray sticker is popular on Line by artist Darylhochi.

Stickers are from:

https://store.line.me/stickershop/product/1040299/
https://store.line.me/stickershop/product/1140113/

The complete pack of stickers can be added with this link: https://telegram.me/addstickers/BacBac . However, Darylhochi claimed on their Facebook post that the stickers are not uploaded by them.

Sticker artists complained on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/darylhochi.illustrations/posts/1129855440432047

What if the artists find their work is re-distributed on Telegram?

Unlike other platforms, there is no way to prevent users from re-distributing copyright protected artworks as stickers.

That’s a sign of a bad ecosystem

While everyone can submit their content as stickers, it’s necessary to ensure the stickers are authorized to be published with the creator’s acknowledgment.

Telegram may not have a plan to set up a sticker store yet. But as a software creator, Telegram should to take action to make sure creativity and effort of creators from the world is well-respected.


Originally published at david.logdown.com.

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