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Are Flickr Images Abused By Foreign Businesses? 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the unknown-spokesperson dept.
eldavojohn writes "My friend Drew was notified via Twitter that one of his Flickr images had been selected as poster child for freeloaders who abuse the benefits system in an Elsevier news story in the Netherlands. The original image clearly gives an CC BY-NC 2.0 license to the image which doesn't appear in the story — a story which generates revenue for Elsevier. My friend doesn't speak Dutch so he's a little confused about what, if anything, he can do in this situation. I'm reminded of a family's Christmas photo showing up on a billboard in Prague and I wonder if photo sharing sites are treated as free to abuse regardless of copyright by foreign businesses? Has anyone else heard of this sort of thing happening with images from social photo sharing sites?"
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Are Flickr Images Abused By Foreign Businesses?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:19AM (#35118484)

    When information wants to be free?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You must be new here. Information only wants to be free when I don't want to pay for it.

      • by pipatron (966506)
        You must be new in this world. Information wants to be free, but attributed.
        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          No no no, information just want to have a normal life, with a home, a loved one and a couple of kids playing in the yard. Information is sick of being portrayed as the posterchild of the open source movements and just want to be left alone. Information wants to be anonymous.

    • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:34AM (#35118590)

      I think the issue is that it's corporations that want you to have to pay for everything, but the same corporations don't seem to have any problem ripping somebody off for their work. It's one thing to pirate other people's work if you provide yours for free to all comers, but quite another if you're suing to enforce your rights while ripping off other parties.

      Plus, a lot of those people saying that would pirate whether or not there was any moral justification for it.

      • by kmdrtako (1971832) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:56AM (#35118752)

        It's one thing to pirate other people's work if you provide yours for free to all comers

        Actually it's not okay to pirate anyone else's work, whether you provide yours for free or not.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        One big problem is that a lot of companies have lawyers on retainer anyway. So it doesn't cost them anything extra when they want to sue someone for copyright infringement. However, most individuals do not. Meaning, when an individual wants to sue someone for infringement, they have a large cost of doing so.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        It's not just corporations. Very few users of cracked software work fulltime as unpayed volunteers.

      • by budgenator (254554) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @05:00PM (#35121014) Journal

        A blogger that I follow, Michael Yon [michaelyon-online.com] has quite a problem with people stealing his work, even people who should know better such as Michael Moore (yes the movie producer Michael Moore and I've seen the theft of rights with my own eyes) has stolen his work. In one thread a poster recommended a reverse search engine Tineye [tineye.com], to find photographic copyright violators on the web. You just upload an image or the URL of an online image and TinEye searches its web repository for copies or near copies of the image, Now an average Joe can keep tabs on who and for what his or her photograph are being used for, and if desired put a stop to there illegal use.

  • Of course it's a violation of copyright to use other people's photos without permission. But why on earth would anyone want to put up their family photos for the whole world to see in the first place?

    • by rmstar (114746) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:35AM (#35118602)

      But why on earth would anyone want to put up their family photos for the whole world to see in the first place?

      Very good question. Given how almost everybody does that, it should not be difficult to find out. Maybe someone who does can enlighten us? Here on /.?

      I fear, however, that the answer will lead to even more troubling questions.

      • by Nossie (753694)

        So other relatives etc can see them that may a) not be in the picture or B) want to see their long distance relatives?

        That's like me saying why does anyone want to see the inside of someones computer or 'insert other geeky shit here' it's not like we all don't have geeky shit so why do we need to share it with others?

        • by rmstar (114746)

          You missed the whole world part. Your a) or B) can be accomodated perfectly well without putting the picture on a blog for the rest of the planet to see.

          • by Nossie (753694)

            and an awful lot of people are not technically savvy enough to accommodate any of your solutions..

            • by Luckyo (1726890)

              And they suffer the consequences. There are far harsher penalties in life for not being smart/savvy enough.

          • You missed the whole world part. Your a) or B) can be accomodated perfectly well without putting the picture on a blog for the rest of the planet to see.

            Spoken like a truly dense technical nerd. Normally that's a good thing, but not in this case.

            Most people don't want to access password protected galleries - especially older people (you know, the ones you wanted to see the photo?) just will not look at them. So to password protect family photos is to greatly inconvenience someone you know for sure would w

            • by rmstar (114746)

              Spoken like a truly dense technical nerd. Normally that's a good thing, but not in this case. Most people don't want to access password protected galleries - especially older people

              Spoken like a true world class moron. The alternative to posting it on a blog is not limited to password protection. You can share a lot of things from google or yahoo's photo sites WITHOUT using a password or making them public. People using these sites have access to these techniques via helpful buttons that are there in plain

              • You can share a lot of things from google or yahoo's photo sites WITHOUT using a password or making them public.

                The only moron I see here is someone who thinks any images put online without an authentication barrier are in fact really hidden... the ultimate security through obscurity.

                If you put it online, and you do not password protect it, you can assume someone you do not know ill be looking at it someday. Either compromised browser by friend/family using your link or curious admin, it doesn't matter how

                • by rmstar (114746)

                  The only moron I see here is someone who thinks any images put online without an authentication barrier are in fact really hidden... the ultimate security through obscurity.

                  Believing security through obscurity does not work at all is a pretty limited point of view. Sure it is not the strongest possible type of security, but there is a huge difference between it and no security. Enough in a case like this to make all the difference that is needed. Your leak scenarios are laughable and your assumptions extrem

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              Just email it, or make a facebook page that is private. Those are things the average person is already doing.

            • In this case, the photo was used for an article about freeloaders who profit from social security without contributing to society. I would care if it was me in the picture.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              My mother is probably one of the most technically illiterate people I know. For example, she could not understand why the computer could not read the pictures off her digital camera after she took the memory card out. Yet she has no problem entering the password to get into our dropshots account to see pictures of the grand kids. People are quite able to do lots of "technical" things when they have the motivation.
          • For non-techies? I hope you're not suggesting Facebook as a viable option...

    • by timeOday (582209) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:05PM (#35118806)

      But why on earth would anyone want to put up their family photos for the whole world to see in the first place?

      So your extended family can see it without a lot of hassle.

      Here's a better question: why not put it up for the whole wide world? Let's say you're the 1 in 1,000,000 that winds up on a billboard in Hungary. Who cares? If anything it's kind of cool. You were never going to get paid for your photos, and now you still aren't. Big deal.

      • Sorry, I think this holds the seeds of a flawed position.

        You phased it softly - you touched on the yearning to escape the crushing mediocrity of life. But as a policy, "all you get is cool rights" is already accepting being the Boiled Frog. Watch what happens if it's a highly undesirable billboard!

      • As TaoPhoenix alluded to, what if your likeness is being used to promote (i.e. make money for/increase usage of/improve the public image of) something that you vehemently oppose, or that paints you in a bad light, or whatever?

        I hardly think you would be happy to be used in the advertising for an extreme political party that has views at the opposite end of the spectrum to you, or even on a less extreme level, if you were used to promote Windows while being a rabid Mac/Linux/whatever fanboy. In the actual in

        • I hardly think you would be happy to be used in the advertising for an extreme political party that has views at the opposite end of the spectrum to you, or even on a less extreme level, if you were used to promote Windows while being a rabid Mac/Linux/whatever fanboy.

          Why? I would be pleased indeed, because of how amusing it would be to have their "spokesperson" come out strongly against what they were using the photo for. No harm to you and a chance to ding something you dislike. That's all win from you

      • by xlsior (524145)

        Here's a better question: why not put it up for the whole wide world? Let's say you're the 1 in 1,000,000 that winds up on a billboard in Hungary. Who cares? If anything it's kind of cool. You were never going to get paid for your photos, and now you still aren't. Big deal.

        Congratulations, you have just been selected to be the new genital herpes poster child.

        Sometimes people flat out don't agree with the company or products advertised, and don't want to be associated with said entities at all. What if your boss finds you in an ad for the competitor? What if it's an embarrassing medical condition?

        Why on earth would it be OK in any way for corporations to profit from your images without prior consent? Let them hire their own photographers, or use existing images in accord

      • by macshit (157376)

        I think "why not?" is exactly the right answer.

        Sites like flickr are convenient, and it's easy to share with family and friends that way. If a stranger or two sees them, who cares -- most family photos are mundane and innocuous (and indeed I'll bet that most people are proud of their family).

        There are plenty of paranoid types on slashdot, who encrypt their root disk even though there's zero chance anybody cares about the information there, but not everybody is that way...

      • by SeaFox (739806)

        Here's a better question: why not put it up for the whole wide world? Let's say you're the 1 in 1,000,000 that winds up on a billboard in Hungary. Who cares? If anything it's kind of cool.

        Because people have developed this idea they should be compensated every time their existence is beneficial to someone else. This behavior was learned from companies who nickel and dime consumers for everything.

        So for a company to be sued for using a personal photo without permission is karma the way I see it.

      • by kent_eh (543303)
        So, help me out here.
        Picture a billboard in some foreign land.
        Now imagine a picture of you, your little sister, and your parents on that billboard.
        Now imagine it's an ad for a condom company, saying that all this could have been prevented...

        Is that "kind of cool", or not?
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Because they don't really care if random people see them, and it makes it much much easier for their relatives and friends to see them.

  • Your friend has given permission to use the picture with proper attribution, Elsevier doesn't give proper attribution. Your friend still has the copyright for the picture, he can offer Elsevier to give them permission for use in their weekly paper for, say, $100,-, if they immediately start giving proper attribution on the website. Elsevier may not distribute their weekly if they don't pay (that what copyright means).
    • by burne (686114) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:56AM (#35118746)

      The going rate for use of a photo is, according to the Dutch photojournalist union, 700 euro's per use of a single picture in low resolution. Plenty of jurisprudence, so getting that shouldn't be a problem. TS's friend can contact the NVJ (http://www.nvj.nl/rechtshulp/) for assistance. Don't worry, their English is at least as good as most Dutch slashdotter's.

    • by fermion (181285)
      So he can ask. Do they have to comply? Of course not. Does Elsevier know this. Of course. Do they think a random person posting a random photo on free website is going to come after them with a lawsuit? No more than a random person downloading a random movie from a random website believes that the non random corporation is going to come after them.

      Certain people have not respected IP rights and stolen work to make huge amounts for a long time. The copyleft movement resulted from firm stealing IP, re

      • by winnetou (19042)
        Yes, they have to comply if he asks a reasonable amount for a picture in a weekly with a circulation like Elsevier. That doesn't mean that suing them will be profitable. On the other hand, being the defender in a copyright infringement case would be bad publicity for Elsevier, which has much more to lose.
  • by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr@hotmail.STRAWcom minus berry> on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:30AM (#35118562) Homepage
    There are several [wikipedia.org] international copyright laws. That link will show you the participating countries. But even so, unless you're a top-tier photographer, it's not really worth the time it would take to pursue legal action. Your best bet is a good defense.

    If you upload full size images to Flickr, etc, you're really just asking for someone to steal it and use it without your permission. So if you're that worried about it... don't use Flickr. But if you absolutely must, then you can take the annoying step of putting a watermark across the whole image, or, if you don't like to deface your work, there's also no reason you can't downsize the image to something like 800px at a low to medium DPI which makes it practically unusable for print.

    All of that said though, people who steal images and use them without permission are, at least in my mind, in the same boat as people who steal music, warez, etc... if they can't get it for free they aren't going to buy it anyway.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "there's also no reason you can't downsize the image to something like 800px at a low to medium DPI which makes it practically unusable for print. "

      Hmm.... DPI stands for Dots Per Inch and is usable only for printing and CRT's.
      PPI in other hand stands for Pixel Per Inch and is usable only for TFT/LCD monitors or even projectors.

      What we search here, is the resolution what would be X * Y where X is wide and Y is height. people should not talk about DPI or PPI when talking about saving photo accuracy and print

    • by Ankh (19084)

      Careful - there are multilateral agreements that are enacted in the individual countries who signed and ratified the treaties; there's no "international court" or body of "international law." (probably you know this, but many people reading the phrase "international copyright laws" get confused).

      In the particular case here it's more than likely an error, and as others have said, contacting Elsevier, will probably result in a satisfactory conclusion. If contacting the people using the image doesn't work, I

    • by macshit (157376)

      If you upload full size images to Flickr, etc, you're really just asking for someone to steal it and use it without your permission. So if you're that worried about it... don't use Flickr. But if you absolutely must, then you can take the annoying step of putting a watermark across the whole image, or, if you don't like to deface your work, there's also no reason you can't downsize the image to something like 800px at a low to medium DPI which makes it practically unusable for print.

      Of course these techniques also make the picture less usable for its intended use, being viewed on the web...

      I loathe the idiots on flickr who do that kind of crap -- I can't count the number of times I've wanted to see the details in some picture, but I can't because the photographer (who in most cases clearly likes the idea of his photo being viewed) only uploaded a low-resolution version of it. Watermarks are even worse, as they actually make the picture ugly.

      The chances of a random picture being used

  • Almost everyone in Netherlands can read English, and the majority can also write and speak it to a decent level. So you don't need to be worried about the language barrier.

    I'm pretty sure that copyright law here is similar to the US, so you can just email them and tell them to either remove the picture OR apply with the terms of the licence.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Almost everyone in Netherlands can read English, and the majority can also write and speak it to a decent level. So you don't need to be worried about the language barrier."

      I have noticed that the ability to comprehend a foreign language is lessened considerably if you ask people to hand over some money.

  • Simply email them! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xiph1980 (944189) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:36AM (#35118608)
    About every dutch person speaks English, so just write them an email saying you own the copyright to that image and would like to be payed a _reasonable_ amount for the usage of your photo. The Netherlands isn't some backwash country where they don't respect copyright. We don't always respect patents, when it comes to software patents, but we do with copyright, although not with the same absurd duration. Also, Elsevier is a politically right-wing magazine, and although I don't know their specific view on copyright, the political right tend to favor longer and stricter copyright terms. Perhaps that could be an advantage here. Also, don't start threatening with any legal action in the first email. That'll only incite a counter-attack. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar and all.
    • by Xiph1980 (944189)
      P.S. Elsevier had an edition of 130 842 in 2009, at a subscription price of €4,01 per magazine, so that's a turnover of € 524 676.42 weekly, going by the 2009 numbers. Looking at the economy, their edition might have gone up a bit.
    • We don't always respect patents, when it comes to software patents, but we do with copyright, although not with the same absurd duration.

      Come again? Netherlands and the rest of the EU had a life+70 copyright term five years before the United States extended its own copyright term to match. See European Bono Act [wikipedia.org].

      • by bami (1376931)

        That's not law, it's a directive. Countries in the EU are not forced to follow it, but are encouraged to do so.

        For example, here in Dutchlantis, you are allowed to make copies of copyrighted work for own use, and are allowed to download said copies from the internet, while not breaching copyright. Using usenet or rapidshare to download movies, music and books is perfectly legal here. Uploading (or distributing) however is not.

        I think that is what he meant by absurd copyright laws (YOU BREAK LAWS FOR DOWNLOA

        • EU countries are not just encouraged to follow a directive, they're legally required to do so -- ie. implement in national law -- by a set date. For the copyright directive above, the implementation date was in 1995, and it appears that the Netherlands have implemented it along with every other major EU country.

  • by RenHoek (101570) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:38AM (#35118618) Homepage

    Original article: http://www.elsevier.nl/web/Nieuws/Nederland/288453/Gemeente-wil-aanvragers-uitkering-eerst-thuis-bezoeken.htm [elsevier.nl]

    Elsevier editors email: redactie.elsevier@elsevier.nl

    Posters above already mention that 95% of Dutch people speak English so I would just send them an email.

  • by jedrek (79264) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @11:47AM (#35118686) Homepage

    Generally speaking, Creative Commons is a fine license for most sorts of creative output for one simple reason: piggybacking. If you make music, you can use somebody's CC'd vocals in your track, they can use your drum loops or guitar riffs. In writing, you can use somebody else's characters, somebody else can use the world you've created. And so on.

    For photography, it sucks. The photographer gets nothing out of it. They produce, but there's no reciprocation. Your photos get used by other people, sometimes they'll do something cool with it (I've had some of my stuff used as the basis for illustrations) but usually it's to illustrate some bullshit article on some crap blog. This is where the bigger problem with CC comes into play: your work gets tied to people who use it.

    If I take a picture of a dog biting a dark skinned man and release it with a CC license, it can get legally picked up by a neo-nazi site/magazine, printed and credited to my name. Not only do people whose politics I find to be morally repugnant get to use my work, they get to tie me to their publication. Boned. Think that's unlikely? How about this example [wordpress.com], where a french girl's self-portrait was used to illustrate an article about a lawsuit involving hotel pool sperm.

    • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:50PM (#35119036) Homepage

      This story is written poorly (shocking for /., I know) because it has little to do with any of the players mentioned: Creative Commons (as opposed to other license writing organizations or other licenses), photography (as opposed to other artistic media), or Flickr (as opposed to other hosting services). This is just another instance of a wealthy organization (which can certainly afford the expense for due diligence) allegedly infringing someone's copyright. It can be dealt with on that basis and resolved amicably for the copyright holder. And, as with so many other copyright infringement cases, how amicable the resolution is for the alleged infringer is, at best, of secondary importance particularly because the license allows the licensee to do so much (derivative works, for example).

      Speaking directly to your complaints: First, there are so many different CC licenses and they say significantly different things. So we can't have a reasonable discussion about them by lumping them together and referring to them as if they're a cohesive unit except to note that they're written and published by the same organization. Second, photos are no more exempt from extraction, reuse, and building upon (making derivative works) than any other form of expression (particularly with digital photo manipulation tools we have today). Third, I think the heart of your complaint has to do with what are referred to as "moral rights" in some jurisdictions. But moral rights have little to do with the CC licenses and far more to do with regional powers conferred to authors (moral rights aren't in the US, for instance). Any proper discussion of them would be independent of the copyright licensing for the work. If you want the power to reject the reuse of some work because of you disagree with a potential derivative work, you probably should not license the work to them at all under any license. Then, should they commit copyright infringement and make an unauthorized derivative work anyway, you get to see how CC licenses had nothing to do with that.

    • by bcrowell (177657)

      For photography, it sucks. The photographer gets nothing out of it. They produce, but there's no reciprocation

      This complaint makes no sense whatsoever. "The photographer gets nothing out of it." If this refers to money, then what's the issue? The photographer intentionally released it under a license that doesn't require payment of royalties. "They produce, but there's no reciprocation." If "reciprocation" refers to making the derived work free-as-in-speech, then what's the issue? If you want that type of reciprocation, you use CC-BY-SA. If you don't want that type of reciprocation, you use CC-BY.

      Your photos get used by other people, sometimes they'll do something cool with it (I've had some of my stuff used as the basis for illustrations) but usually it's to illustrate some bullshit article on some crap blog.

      If it's under a fr

      • by Homburg (213427)

        If you want that type of reciprocation, you use CC-BY-SA. If you don't want that type of reciprocation, you use CC-BY.

        As I understand it, the "share-alike" clause only applies to derivative works. Does combining a photo with a text story make the whole thing a "derivative work" of the photo? I'm not sure, although a quick look at Wikipedia suggests it might do.

        • by bcrowell (177657)

          As I understand it, the "share-alike" clause only applies to derivative works. Does combining a photo with a text story make the whole thing a "derivative work" of the photo?

          Yes, it does.

    • You're assuming people actually want this "piggybacking".
      I've seen a lot of CC licensed music using the no derivatives license.

  • Just so you know, five years ago, a Dutch judge ruled that Creative Commons licenses are enforceable. See here: http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/5823 [creativecommons.org] . This is the Adam Curry case from 2006, for those who follow the history of such things. There was also a later scenario [creativecommons.org] in 2009 that he also won.

    Summary from the Wikipedia article [wikimedia.org]:

    In late February 2006, Adam sued the Dutch tabloid Weekend for reprinting photos from his Flickr page and publishing details about his daughter. The photos were released under a version of the Creative Commons license that forbids commercial use and requires acknowledgement, but the tabloid printed a few of them without contacting Curry.

    The verdict of the lawsuit did not award Curry any damages, but did forbid the tabloid from reprinting the photos in the future, and set a fine of 1,000€ for each subsequent violation by the tabloid. It was one of the first times the license was tested in a court.

    In May 2009, Curry posted on his blog information about a different Dutch tabloid publishing another Creative Commons licenced photo from Curry's Flickr account and Curry's attempt to apply Creative Commons license requirements. The publisher settled without a trial on Curry's terms.

  • We were out with a school friend of my girlfriend. She was very attractive; blond hair and blue eyes; she looked like a super-model. While sitting outside at a cafe, some guy snapped some photos of her, very indiscreetly, here in scenic Heidelberg. She snapped at him, and informed him that taking close up pictures of a single person in public was illegal, and even stated the paragraph in the law. He backed off.

    I'm not sure if she was bluffing or not . . . and she died of breast cancer a couple of years

  • As Cooks Source knows well, *anything* on the internet is public domain and therefore open season.

  • by Ankh (19084) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:46PM (#35119006) Homepage

    When you say, foreign, remember that copyright violations are pretty common in the USA too, both by individuals and by organizations. From the perspective of most citizens of this planet, the USA is also a foreign country :-) (and GPL violations happen without regard for national borders, too)

    Is is harder to take action against people in other countries. You may have to travel there to appear in a court, in extreme cases, and you may have to demonstrate financial losses as a result of the use of your image.

    Many countries give a legal moral right to be identified as the author/creator of a work, and also give the creator ongoing rights to say how the work can be used. This may strengthen the poster's case here, although in the US, using creative commons may be seen as waiving some of those rights. Here in Canada, the rights are inalienable: you can't ever get rid of them, which in principle may not be compatible with some creative comments licenses (and GPL for that matter): there's no "public domain" in the same legal sense as in the USA.

    Write a letter in general terms in the first instance - e.g., "I am writing because you are making commercial use of one of my images without permission; who would I contact in this matter?" Be firm but very polite at all times.

    If you are prepared to settle for acknowledgment, and perhaps a small payment to compensate you for your time, then when you do get a reply, be polite and accept their offer if it's in the right ballpark, or negotiate for a little more. If the reply is unsatisfactory, immediately seek legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in cross-border/international copyright disputes. They are expensive, but you should get a free consultation that will get you started.

    Do not be rude, arrogant, or demanding - not only is it likely to make people act defensively, rather than trying to cooperate with you in finding a friendly ("amicable') solution, but it can also actually weaken your case if you do end up with legal action. Similarly, be terse, don't volunteer information. Saying "I don't have much money, I'm a student" for example is also saying "I can't afford to sue you, you can do what you like!"

    Do not attempt to base any sort of argument on the Wikipedia pages on copyright; every time I look at them I find errors (often with people fiercely defending them), and I'm not even a lawyer. Reading the actual copyright acts is difficult without legal training - e.g. knowing that a phrase like "time shall be of the essence" in US law might mean "if you don't make the deadline, all bets are off", or finding a footnote on page 50 that says, "hereafter, and everywhere in this document, the term "Ship" shall mean "Ship or hovercraft", or discovering some other law that amends the one you were reading... and even after reading the law, what matters is how individual judges ("courts") interpret it. Sort of like how different Web browsers react to the syntax errors that riddle most HTML pages - the specification says one thing, people do another, the Web browsers resolve it. Except that judges are human, of course, and consider each case as it happens. This isn't so much a criticism of Wikipedia as a note that, like any other resource, you have to know its strengths and weaknesses. For that matter I've seen official government web pages on copyrights that had serious errors in them (such as giving incorrect figures for duration, and then a while later silently changing them!) so it's all a bit of a minefield.

  • by xnpu (963139) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:55PM (#35119054)

    Elsevier is known for doing this. Get a Dutch lawyer, sue and make a buck. You're very likely to win. See Adam Curry's and other cases against them.

  • by cornicefire (610241) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:55PM (#35119056)
    Foreign? It's not just foreign. I see it happen at American sites all of the time. Heck, BoingBoing is both one of the biggest fans of Creative Commons licenses and one of the biggest abusers. They always post the CC license link prominently when it allows copying, but when it doesn't they just post the image anyways. And they're about as commercial as a website gets charging some of the heaviest ad rates around. ($20 CPM.) They reportedly raked in more than $1 million in 2006. (http://blogbuildingu.com/articles/making-money-blogging-profiles-of-6-very-successful-blogs)

    There's a reason why their masthead lists two lawyers but no staff photographers. They would rather pay the lawyers to spew squid ink about fair use than to pay anything to the people who contribute the art. This attitude, of course, is not unique to this site. A number of sites do it.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/04/george-bernard-shaws.html [boingboing.net]

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/06/startups-of-londons.html [boingboing.net]

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/ol-space-food/ [wired.com]
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @01:00PM (#35119102)
    Flickr just announced its list of ways to counteract foreign photo stealing for stock photo-like purposes:
    1. be really ugly
    2. have a cheap, crappy camera
    3. just take really bad, crooked, blurry shots
    4. Photoshop a cheesy top hat, moustache, and monacle onto all your photos

    It looks like a lot of folks on Flickr have already implemented these security measures.
  • by maxfresh (1435479) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @01:02PM (#35119110)
    Due to the oversimplified and poorly written terms of the CC licenses, which leave many details undefined, neither the copyright owner nor the publications wishing to license the owner's work can have any certainty about which uses are permitted and which prohibited, in some borderline cases. Moreover, since the CC license is irrevocable once granted, content creators can easily find themselves unable to stop others from using their work in ways that they don't want, and didn't anticipate, or which they mistakenly believed were expressly prohibited.

    This article has a good discussion of the problems inherent in the CC licenses [epuk.org].
  • by brianerst (549609) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @01:31PM (#35119380) Homepage

    Just use some steganography software [jjtc.com] to embed a version of the DeCSS [wikipedia.org] code into your pictures. I prefer the haiku [cmu.edu] version myself...

    • Common JPEG steganography techniques are intended to hide a message inside an exact copy of the cover message. Most aren't designed to be robust enough to survive Rotate, Crop, Gaussian Blur, Unsharp Mask, Levels, and other effects in GIMP or Photoshop used to prepare an image for use in an ad.
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@kc[ ].com ['.rr' in gap]> on Sunday February 06, 2011 @01:39PM (#35119444) Homepage

    If you dont want your pictures all over the internet...dont put them on the internet. Sorry but whining about the use of pictures placed on imgur or flickr is the equivalent of dumping a pile of random pictures on a table in the break room of a busy office then complaining when one of them shows up on someones desk.

  • Just talk to them (Score:4, Informative)

    by gentlemen_loser (817960) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @02:07PM (#35119614) Homepage
    Knowing people who work there, I can assure you that this is not a case of an evil corporate monster trying to keep "the man" down and profit for nothing. They review licenses and probably used the image from the OP because it was CC and did not or mistakingly read the fine print. I know for fact that they avoid copyrighted material and email original authors and artists for permission to use materials. This is either an honest mistake or an individuals rushed negligence. Either way, simply email them and ask about it. There is no story here.
  • Anyone using one of those so-called "free" service providers should take those events as a lesson.

    I know I'm repeating myself here, but you ought to not only read the Terms of Service, you should also try to understand what they mean, and keep in mind the contract maxim: the first part giveth, then the later parts taketh away including your shirt.

    If you not only read the words in chapter 11 of the Google Terms of Service [google.com], you will see that they can get away with that the moment the mag would take a Google s

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