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Are Flickr Images Abused By Foreign Businesses? 227

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 hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:34PM (#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 jedrek ( 79264 ) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @12:47PM (#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 [], where a french girl's self-portrait was used to illustrate an article about a lawsuit involving hotel pool sperm.

  • by cornicefire ( 610241 ) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @01:55PM (#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. (

    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. [] [] []
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday February 06, 2011 @02:03PM (#35119122)

    BoingBoing does the same thing with Creative Commons photos all the fucking time, and nobody ever calls them on it. I guess it's because it's "open source friendly" and Elsevier isn't?

    Either way, sounds like hypocrisy to me.

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.