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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Ensure Creative Commons Compliance At Your Company?

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the can-we-see-the-chicken's-papers? dept.

Businesses 64

An anonymous reader writes At the non-profit where I work, there isn't a lot of money for buying stock photos or licensing professional images. So, we've turned to sources of 'free' imagery, notably Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr. While we're not a huge organization, we do have 100+ individuals creating content in one way or another. We're now wrestling with compliance of the CC licensing, like including links for By Attribution images, etc. Our legal counsel is also scared of photographers changing their licenses and suing us after the fact. How do you document the images you find were licensed one way in the past, especially when numerous people from across the country are acquiring the images?

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Escrow service? (4, Interesting)

toby (759) | about 4 months ago | (#47307319)

Send a copy of the image and the license agreement to a 3rd party on concluding it.

Re:Escrow service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307361)

Do you not understand what Creative Commons is? Or maybe this was some sort of really unfunny joke?

Re:Escrow service? (2)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 4 months ago | (#47307449)

OK, no, not sure about the PP but, sure, I don't know what CC is. Can you explain it to me like I'm five?

Because my first thought about the PP is that was probably a decent, cost effective idea.

Re: Escrow service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47310445)

A CC Licence is not a substtute for copyright clearence.
A CC Licence does not negate the requirement to do due dilligence.

I suspect that the lawyer is really more concerned about the latter, than the former, but phrased
it that way, becase due dillgence is a lot harder to explain than copyright clearance.

Re:Escrow service? (2)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 4 months ago | (#47309839)

javascript:void(open('//web.archive.org/save/'+encodeURI(document.location)))

Using the above bookmarklet will archive the entire page in the Internet Archive immediately (timestamped by the Internet Archive). The Internet Archive crawler respects robots.txt, but it doesn't appear the Flickr robots.txt file will prevent you from using this method.

Re:Escrow service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47321975)

But archive.org will, I believe, honour requests to have content removed at a later date, so you can't rely on this.

Just hire the photographer. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307393)

We don't. By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out, or if you're ballsy, try work-for-hire or buy all their images outright. The photographers we worked with, are usually pretty chilled if we forget to renew the licensing. Contracts are there when things get awkward or if you're a big company don't respond to them. Most photogs are small shop independent contractors and they guard relationships very well. It doesn't matter if they shot professionally for National Geographic, they're very professional and accommodating. The Flickr and Craigslist group are flaky in my opinion, and they don't necessarily track tax revenue, much less licensing.

I'd rather just deal with a pro and be done with it. The same way I'd rather hire a licensed plumber with warranty than asking someone for Craigslist for $100. My time is more valuable.

Re:Just hire the photographer. (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47307513)

By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out

My company came to the same conclusion. "Creative Commons" is a legal minefield. Commercial stock photo agencies like Shutterstock and 123rf have clear contracts, much better selection, better search engines, and cost effective bulk licenses. If you have legal counsel involved, Creative Commons is already costing you more than commercial licensing. I prefer to pay artists and photographers rather than lawyers.

Re:Just hire the photographer. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47307609)

Ditto here... There are so many pro-level stock photo sites out there which you can draw from that it's almost silly not to use them for the minor stuff like clipart and smaller image elements.. For the major stuff, hire a local photog, so that you can get local imagery, results you can tweak and tune, and so that you have a contract all spelled out and notarized.

Re:Just hire the photographer. (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47307951)

By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out

My company came to the same conclusion. "Creative Commons" is a legal minefield. Commercial stock photo agencies like Shutterstock and 123rf have clear contracts, much better selection, better search engines, and cost effective bulk licenses. If you have legal counsel involved, Creative Commons is already costing you more than commercial licensing. I prefer to pay artists and photographers rather than lawyers.

We don't even use that. We order CDs full of pictures. I dunno where they come from, I don't care. We own the photos outright and they are good for generalized photos (i.e. some support person with a headset smiling, ready to take your order) They have some sort of system where you can log that you used a picture so its not reused in a way that leads to problems. I don't do it much, I'm usually doing applications and need buttons or icons. Lucky for me the CD's incidentally include them and the rest of the company doesn't use them much.

For more customized images, for example someone enjoying some new service we have, you can't order that online. So the art department had a great idea... they have a contest. The hire a local photographer and have employees volunteer. Whomevers photo gets picked by the art department wins a small bonus (like $1k) and gets slightly famous locally. Most people aren't interested but there are always a few who are. Then art photoshops all the human qualities out of your pic and viola! You're an ad!

They even did a commercial once and used this old field tech we had to show us "hard at work!" etc... He was surprised to later get a SAG card in the mail. We'd tease him when he'd call in... asking him how Bra Pitt was and such. lol

Re:Just hire the photographer. (1)

Smerta (1855348) | about 4 months ago | (#47308587)

We don't even use that. We order CDs full of pictures. I dunno where they come from, I don't care. We own the photos outright and they are good for generalized photos (i.e. some support person with a headset smiling, ready to take your order)

Ummmmm.... you might wanna be careful there. Especially the "dunno where they come from, I don't care." You should.

If some scammer from FooVille fills up a CD with images pulled from the internet, images he/she has no right to re-distribute (copyright assignment), you are exposed as well. Even if you can point to the CD, point to the scammer and say, "Here's the order, this person told me he owned all the rights, blah blah blah", I can assure you that the tenet "ignorance is no excuse" still holds. This would be considered mitigating factors, but you would still be on the hook. Particularly if the original source is Getty Images or the like, they'll go after you on principle alone.

Don't get me wrong, you're trying to do the right thing, and the whole flipping copyright law is buggered. I'm just telling you, you are still seriously exposed. Tread carefully!

Re:Just hire the photographer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47309355)

If a photographer licenses certain photographs under a CC license how can they revoke that license? I understand dual licensing is possible but switching the license for an already released work so the previous license is no longer in effect must be a civil law issue.

Re:Just hire the photographer. (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 months ago | (#47309571)

It is true that once that version of a photo is released under the license, then they can't revoke it, but you must document this as you can't guarantee the owner removes the statement that it is licensed.

This is what the OP is asking about, as you need to document that they released the image under that license at some point in time.

Stay away from attribution licenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307417)

Someone will inevitably leave out the attribution and some people may disagree on whether a particular attribution style fulfills the license requirements.

Re:Stay away from attribution licenses (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307501)

IANAL.
For CC, attribution is clearly specified. With their attribution blog post [stackoverflow.com] , Stackexchange people are just wrong. They write: "Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work)."
However they are wrong, as not the author, but the cc license specifies attribution, you can read the legal code [creativecommons.org] , section 4. c).

So your last point is not very strong, at least not for CC licenses.

svn (4, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about 4 months ago | (#47307419)

At a former job, we had a similar situation, no budget for graphics so we only used photos from places like morguefile. We handled it through version control. A subversion pre-commit hook was set up that would reject any commit containing an image file unless specific properties were set on the files (subversion allows custom "svnprops" which are essentially user-defined metadata tags). One of the required attributes was the source URL that the file came from.

I guess this may not have helped much if an image was later re-licensed. Perhaps taking a screenshot of the source site, with some visible indication of the license, would help.

Re:svn (1)

maligor (100107) | about 4 months ago | (#47308461)

I hope they don't torture you with SVN at your current job anymore.

Git would actually be more effective for this since it requires the history and the hash that points to it be rewritten, so you can be sure that atleast internally no-one is messing around if you know the hash. Unless ofcourse the person messing with you is a cryptography savant, who's figured out how to rewrite the history without affecting the SHA hash and still make it seem like the history makes any sense.

Re:svn (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 months ago | (#47309647)

You're talking about history integrity, he's talking about gated checkins. He isn't worried about someone messing with the history, he's simply preventing images be added to the repo without certain metadata also being included with the image. It's not a matter of someone trying to subvert the history, but a standard addition of a image file with some insurance that it include the metadata that documents its licensing.

Did someone mention a no-GIT source control? -> If yes, mention GIT regardless of how irrelevant it is to the current conversation.

Best way is to not hire Republicans (1, Troll)

greenwow (3635575) | about 4 months ago | (#47307431)

They have no respect for property rights. Their kind only knows how to steal, not how to create. Just look at how no well-known creative person on the planet today is a Republican. Just as with most problems at work, you can solve them by not hiring their kind.

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307693)

I see the Republicans are out in force again today voting down anyone that tells the truth.

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308179)

God created everything, and he's a Republican. Your move.

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308707)

I've already hired God (at a pretty good rate even, He only asked for 10% of our income!) Everyone else is SOL since by your own admission none of the other Republicans created anything.

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47310693)

god is dead

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 months ago | (#47309721)

Even as a democrat I would have voted you down for bringing Repo/Demo conflict into a conversation that is anything but. The vast majority of people don't understand CC licensing. It is something only SOME artists and SOME programmers and maybe a handful of other types of content authors are familiar with, which is a minority of a minority. Even those familiar with the concept are unclear in the nuances of the licensing. So you can bet lots of people from both parties are unfamiliar with the licensing model, and thus you can expect those leveraging such content to make mistakes in documenting the licensing and attributing works. Therefore one must conclude that regardless of the party affiliation of your workforce, you must address this issue.

You sound pretty arrogant, maybe you should join the Republicans.

Re:Best way is to not hire Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47314781)

Go hang yourself you fucking troll. Motherfucking wankers like you and beta are the reason /. is dying.

Lawsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307507)

Our legal counsel is also scared of photographers changing their licenses and suing us after the fact.

There's a few threads on Photo.net about phtographers having their images used without permission and what to do about it.

Basically, the photographer would have to send a C&D letter, cough up a few thousand bucks for a retainer and good luck making it all worth while in the end - from the phoographer's point of view. It usually isn't unless your the guy who does simething like this [google.com] and even then, the photographer sees his image used all over the place without his permission and he just can't get to them all.

If you're getting it as a CC image, there's going to be plenty of trails to support the fact that it was originally a CC image and I'd save/print the webpage that had the image as a CC licensed. The photoog will havea real

I mean really, does your council have any experience in these matters?

Re:Lawsuits? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47308077)

Basically, the photographer would have to send a C&D letter, cough up a few thousand bucks for a retainer and good luck making it all worth while in the end - from the phoographer's point of view

Depends on who does the ripping-off. Some small-time business? It's easier to just shame them on social media (and that business' local newspaper) and once word filters out, the business suffers accordingly until they apologize and/or pay you back. You can also send a DMCA complaint to the hosting company, and the site goes down until they fix it (which will hurt them immediately, and get them to pay attention much sooner.) If they lie to the hosting company and say it's theirs, you file a counter-claim and it goes down yet again.

Now let's say that some Fortune 500 corp rips your work off... you'll have your pick of lawyers willing to fight it on contingency (because most will have seven-figure dollar-signs in their eyes.)

Re:Lawsuits? (1)

ottothecow (600101) | about 4 months ago | (#47308593)

Doubtful.

No lawyer is going to take that case on contingency, and even if they did...there would be no seven-figure payday. Despite what you may think, damages are based on actual harm and don't explode just because a megacorp is involved.

Even if it weren't some ambiguous "it used to say Creative Commons but now someone is making a copyright claim" situation, the maximum damages figure is very small. You would get the actual damages, which certainly aren't going to be more than 4 figures for a single website image unless you are a well-established or famous photographer doing specific work for hire. Then you would get some statutory damages--Unknowing infringement (such as after a change in licensing from CC) is limited to something like $200...willfull infringement can go higher, but only if you registered the images with the copyright office in a timely manner (which almost nobody does, especially not for images they post online with a CC attribution).

This: is a pretty giant award [photoattorney.com] as far as infringement goes. Notice that they only got $21k for 10 images, and that was with their own dedicated team of lawyers. For the 2 with registrations, they got a total of 300k, which is the maximum for willful infringement, but look at just how willful that infringement was: The infringers were complete dicks about it. They continued using the images for *years* after being told they were infringing, they lied and used fake names, and when it came time to go to trial, they were not forthcoming in discovery. Those are the kinds of actions that piss off a judge and get you maximum statutory damages.

Re:Lawsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308581)

The easy problem is when someone relicenses their own pictures from free to proprietary. The difficult problem is when someone relicenses someone else's pictures from proprietary to free. A screenshot doesn't help you when the "author" didn't have the right to offer the pictures under a CC license in the first place.

Re:Lawsuits? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#47308905)

Perhaps not, but if you receive a C & D demand in such a case, just take the image down. If you acted responsibly and stopped infringing as soon as you are made aware of it the court is unlikely to award significant damages, which means the person who owns the copyright is unlikely to file suit. If they do take you to court, go with hat in hand, ready to explain where you got the image, what license you thought it had and make note of the fact that you removed the image right away when you became aware of the issue. You might want to go to some paid services and find out what similar images cost to license and bring those quotes along. Also insist that they prove they are the copyright holder. Be reasonable and the judge is not likely to go nuts with damages.

Unless of course you have deep pockets, in which case, just hire somebody to produce the images you need and forget about this issue.

Re:Lawsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47309443)

I mean really, does your council have any experience in these matters?

No, their legal counsel is the co-founder's cousin's uncle but he's a nice guy and pass the bar exam in California sometime in 1986. He bakes a fantastic home-made pizza too.

Spend money. (2)

sunking2 (521698) | about 4 months ago | (#47307553)

It's why money exists in the first place. To make life easier for you by exchanging it for things that are more difficult to acquire.

Re:Spend money. (2)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 4 months ago | (#47307943)

You might as well say "don't be cheap, hire a photographer to take the pictures." Obviously while rights management for CC pictures is a small difficulty, raising the funds to pay for photographs is a large difficulty that has its own headaches and expenses.

Re:Spend money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308029)

I'm sorry, but if they have "100 people" creating content....they should be able to afford some stock photo collections easily.

Re:Spend money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308689)

I have hired commercial photographers for our company in Atlanta. They cost about $600-$1,200 on average for a small production full day. Terms are negotiable which may drive costs up or down.
I'm not saying CC doesn't have its time and place, but for damage control it'll cost you around ~$600/ *per hour* for a decent copyright lawyer to protect your butt. And if you're guilty, expect to pay more in damages...

If you have a marketing dept with a director with any experience, $1,200 is nothing. It's the price of a laptop. If you don't have a marketing director, then just present my anecdote for a cost-benefit analysis.

Stock images are $5 from istockphoto and its ilk. Unless you're working at McDonald's, one hour of your time is worth more than $5 even after taxes.

Don't use it (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 months ago | (#47307561)

As you're discovering, it costs you more to worry about being legal than just paying for photos in the first place.

THIS is the reason so many businesses just avoid open source/creative commons completely. Its too easy to get into trouble, or at least, its too easy to worry about getting into trouble even if you never actually do get into trouble.

There are many ways you can protect yourself by documenting the process, but 9 times out of 10, at that point, you've wasted so much time manually documenting the process/object in question that you would have saved yourself time and money but just buying something, which automatically documents your attempt at being legitimate with a receipt/contract/bill of sale.

Don't use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307687)

Yes but even if you buy you can not be entirely sure there's no lawsuit lurking.

Re:Don't use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307775)

But with the contracts and exchange of money (an active contract), you as the company will at least have this third-party agent acting as a legal buffer. The photog might sue you for statutory damages, but you in turn can sue the agency for breach of contract at a higher sum to recover the damages.

In short, you're buying insurance. For $5.
I can't believe for a second that a non-profit can afford to buy a ream of paper for their copier/printer, but can't afford to buy a stock image. They're just being cheap. Is the OP *paying* to work at this non-profit or something?

Re:Don't use it (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47308097)

Yes but even if you buy you can not be entirely sure there's no lawsuit lurking.

Doesn't matter - if you buy it from a reputable site, you're fairly indemnified by showing the receipt and pointing to the site you procured it from. It's up to the site at that point to do their own fighting.

Re: Don't use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308551)

Have you ever tried to enforce an indemnity?

Same tracking expenses either way (1)

Fencepost (107992) | about 4 months ago | (#47310429)

Your comparison seems to assume that just because you've bought a commercially licensed image that you don't have to track it the same way you would a CC-licensed one. You actually probably have to track it more stringently for the commercial one than for the CC-licensed one, because you KNOW that someone's expecting to get paid for the commercial one.

"Hey, you know that background image we've been using for 5 years for the X site? Where'd we get that? iStockphoto? Can you track down the purchase info along with proof that the $3 was for *that* photo? I think that was a few years before Getty bought them, and I think we were still Y Corporation at the time. Man, I sure hope Jimmy didn't just do that on his own account for convenience. Any idea where he is these days?"

Heck, I was at someone's office today where they couldn't find the paperwork for an out-of-warranty laptop repair from March, much less something years old.

Re:Same tracking expenses either way (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47311829)

So how many years old? 70 years after the creators death, now that is a lot of tracking especially when it comes to photos and trying to establish proof of who actually took the image and keeping a record of the contractual conditions and the payment. Obviously some rework of copyright has to occur, especially when they are trying to push the idea of a similar idea and patented methods of creating an image. Lawyers have been very hard at work for decades ensuring they will have lots and lots of work.

Permissions Manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307581)

So I am a Rights and Permissions manager for a mid sized business that does publishing services for companies like HMH, Pearson, Cengage and others.

Your company should have a permissions manager and an asset database including contracts and rights information (RMS Rights Management System). I can't think of any off the shelf systems but the company I work for has a custom FileMaker image asset database and one of our main clients Pearson uses a system called PRISM (Pearson Rights Information System Management).

You are going to get sued if you aren't using industry standard practices like I just mentioned. I don't know how so many companies get as large as you are mentioning with out a Perms manager.

Re:Permissions Manager (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 months ago | (#47307833)

I feel stupid by asking this, but what would be a decent off-the-shelf permissions/licensing manager suitable for a small business?

Re:Permissions Manager (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47309203)

He means a person, not a computer program.

This is the organizational bloat that kills industry. Everyone wants a person to be employed to scratch their itch for them.

Re:Permissions Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47313809)

I am sorry you have such little regard for administrative work. Despite what people believe though the work doesn't do itself and when it is not done that is an expensive liability.

Re:Permissions Manager (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 months ago | (#47310559)

I feel stupid by asking this, but what would be a decent off-the-shelf permissions/licensing manager suitable for a small business?

I expect most normal people would just use Excel. :)

Or maybe some small off the shelf asset tracking program. Or whip something up from an asset tracking system template for Access or Filemaker Pro, etc.

Re:Permissions Manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307917)

spoken like a management professional

how can any organization exist without a *WHATEVER MY TITLE IS*

we are the most important thing in the world

Re:Permissions Manager (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 4 months ago | (#47308105)

including contracts and rights information (RMS Rights Management System).

Somewhere, somehow, I am certain that Mr. Stallman just shuddered in horror...

Important fact about Flickr CC photos... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47307649)

There's millions of reposted photos there that Joe Pic-Stealer and his friends have marked as CC licensing. So just because it says CC doesn't mean a damn thing.

cover your own arse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308389)

1. hire local photographer, with clear contract terms and specific ownership clauses - he's working under contract to you, therefore the owner of any material he produces is YOU since you're the one commissioning it. Ergo, he has neither the right nor the authority to convert any images taken while under contract once the contract is fulfilled. He's been paid. That's it as far as he's concerned whether you use just one of several hundred images or 100% of the entire stock*.
2. I am a photographer. I have my own CMS, it's called an email account. Any images I decide to publish go out using whatever licence is relevant, watermarked where I feel necessary (Facebook was one such situation), and the full resolution unadulterated image goes to the email account and just sits there waiting for the inevitable ownership challenge. I've had to use it ONCE to put down a claim, and that was on a logo. Haven't had to put the bosh on a photo claim yet, it's probably just a matter of time.

*I actually like working commissions, it means I can wash my hands of the complicated business of tracking content even though I only get paid once for the stock. More time for me to take photos, less time updating CMS databases.

Shit Legal Counsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308459)

Your legal counsel is shit. You cannot retroactively change the license once it is released under CC.

Re:Shit Legal Counsel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308817)

You cant change the license but you can change your mind. And you can scare shitty legal counsel away with threats, and then profit.

Capture the URL as a PDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308471)

Get a utility that captures the image's URL as a PDF. That gives you a record of the URL when the image was obtained, as opposed to only having a URL to a page that is subject to modification.

Don't (1)

Njovich (553857) | about 4 months ago | (#47308773)

Just use images with a proper license and a company that is willing to license to you under terms that are not so fuzzy. CC sucks because it is so unspecific and creative types just don't understand the ramifications and limits of their choices. The sad thing is that the world would be a better place if CC never came into existence, because then you would at least have had a chance for proper public licenses to evolve.

Otherwise, you are a company, so you could probably just open up a sixpack of lawyers if you ever get into problems.

As for your stated problem, if you documented it for yourself that this was some specific license, then the courts can probably entice Flickr to just state what license was valid at the time.

Use Bugzilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47308903)

My company tracks all open source use and licensing in a bugzilla database with lawyers having most access and developers being allowed to submit issues -- completely separate from our normal bug database. Maybe something like that would work for you.

How about government photos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47309117)

From the OP:
        So, we've turned to sources of 'free' imagery....

How about government photos, especially US federal government. Not all are in the public domain but many are and I doubt the license is going to change (hopefully). When in doubt, just ask the agency if you can use the photo.

you don't. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 4 months ago | (#47310275)

you have no way of verifying that whoever posted it to Flickr actually owns it or has rights to offer it under the stated license, and if you are easier to find than they are, guess who's getting sued for copyright infringement

Wiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47310549)

List of all licences and usage and people link internally to the page. It works.

The licences need more clarification (0)

garryknight (1190179) | about 4 months ago | (#47311393)

I'll mention right up front that most of the more than 10,000 photos I've published on Flickr were, and continue to be, under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence. Most of the people who have used my photos have done so quietly, without any fuss. Now and again, someone asks politely if they can use a photo even though it is clearly marked as to which licence applies, and my Flickr Profile also makes this clear and goes so far as to say how I prefer to be attributed. If I think that anyone wanting to use my photos might have problems with the Share-Alike part (e.g. commercial enterprises who want to keep their own licences on the content) I just generally quietly change the licence to Attribution only and let them get on with it. I may be unusual in this way as my intent is to provide a service to the community - and that's what I see CC as being all about. And as a result, many hundreds of web pages feature my photos. And this probably saves them a dollar or two. It looks like a win-win situation from here.

I do, however, reserve the right to change the licence on any of my photos, no matter when they were first published. I'm trying to build up a small fine art portfolio and intend to continue changing some photos to All Rights Reserved. And I've stated as such in my Flickr Profile. But that in no way affects the rights of anyone who has used any of my photos beforehand. As far as I'm concerned, the date of publication should settle the issue of who has which rights. If someone used my photo under CC BY-SA on the 31st of March, say, and I change the licence to ARR on the 1st of April, then that person's rights don't change as regards their use of the photo up to and including 31st March. They don't have to take the photo down, and I won't charge them for its use. If they reuse the photo after that then it's likely to be because they don't know about the licence change. If I find out they've reused it, I'll let them know about the licence but won't insist that they find another photo. After all, I might not know they've reused it until months afterwards. So I'll always err on the generous side. So that I can continue providing a service. At some point in the near future, I'll convert most of my photos to CC BY to make this easier.

Having said all this, I know that some other photographers are far less easy-going, even to the point of being litigious. My opinion is that the Creative Commons (i.e. whoever 'officially' represents it) needs to look at the wording on the CC website [creativecommons.org] and especially any legalese therein, and rewrite it to include information and guidelines as to what should happen when a contributor intends to change their licence. If, as I believe is the case legally, the date of publication is primary in deciding who has what rights, then the website should make this clear to both contributors and users of creative work. Users should be clear that, if the licence on a work changes, their use up to that date is lawful and cannot be challenged; and that reuse of the same work after the date of change of the licence comes under the provisions of the new licence exclusively. Likewise, contributors should also abide by this and not attempt to charge fees in retrospect for lawful use of a work prior to the date of change of the licence.

For me, the spirit of the CC movement is most important, but the letter needs to be nailed down a lot tighter than it currently is.

Re:The licences need more clarification (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47313125)

If, as I believe is the case legally, the date of publication is primary in deciding who has what rights, then the website should make this clear to both contributors and users of creative work. Users should be clear that, if the licence on a work changes, their use up to that date is lawful and cannot be challenged; and that reuse of the same work after the date of change of the licence comes under the provisions of the new licence exclusively.

Are you sure it actually works like this? Do you have any sources that have led you to believe this? I'd think that once I've downloaded an image under a CC-license I have the right to use that version of the image (ie. the specific file, and any derivatives I make, assuming I've the right to make those derivatives) under that license forever regardless of any future license changes. On the other hand, if I re-download the image after a license change the new copy is under the new license.

Similar to how I've understood the GPL to work, if a version of a program is released under the GPL that version is forever under the GPL and the best the author can do is release future versions under a different license. Anyone who downloaded the GPL-version is free to do with it whatever GPL allows.

If I'm wrong I'd very much like to know, so if you have any sources you can point to I'll happily read them.

Destroying your own profession and industry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47313789)

It is truly sad that someone who claims to "create" and to earn an income from creativity places no value on his or her own source of income. If you live from the sale of creative goods, then the ultimate end-point of valuing your creative source materials at zero is that your own creative input will be valued at zero.

Valuing your own input (whatever creative conversion it is that you claim) and ensuring your continued employment is best assured by valuing all the pyramid of creativity that you rest on. Otherwise, why will the public not simply bypass your Fat Controller role and just download beautiful, technically accomplished images themselves?

Great posting (1)

denygarcia (3736221) | about 3 months ago | (#47398909)

This post inspire me a lot and trying to share it with some of my business partners. wordpress developers india [webworldexperts.com]
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