Posts Tagged: creative commons

Flickr and the abuse of the Creative Commons

With the following Tweet today, Jeffrey Zeldman started a very good twitter conversation about Flickr, commericial/retail photo usage, and copyright/licensing/creative commons:

Andy Budd then linked to Zeldman’s blog post, What’s Wrong With This Picture? Flickr is about to sell off your Creative Commons photos, and started another good conversation on the topic:

Jen Simmons further drills into the debate with two succinct tweets and a blog post:

Jen Simmons’ blog post on I Don’t Want “Creative Commons BY” To Mean You Can Rip Me Off

And then Ms. Simmon’s linked to this Wall Street Journal article: Fight Over Yahoo’s Use of Flickr Photos

The quote that sums up Flickr in this situation and my own opinion* comes from Zeldman’s blog post:

I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for about ten years. I love Flickr. Sometimes, for years, it has been like loving a friend who is in a coma. Now it’s like helplessly watching a cocaine-addicted friend snort up their kid’s college fund.

Come on, Yahoo.

* As for the larger scope of my own opinion on Flickr and other photo sharing sites is a blog post in the making, as I am still collecting some comparison data.

** Please note that I am pro-Creative Commons, but chose a few years go – due to abuse by others – to switch from a CC-NC license on my Flickr images and my blog images/posts to a Copyright – All Rights Reserved.

Sita Sings the Blues


Sita Sings the Blues‘ is a very delightful feature indie animation film that combines 1920s jazz vocals with the ancient Indian story of Ram and Sita and the parallel story of the animator Nina Paley and her husband Dave.
Worth watching for the interplay of animation styles and narrative, of which is the interstitial bits of the three humorous arguing narrators. Even more worth watching for the gorgeous visuals.
Sita Sings the Blues

rw : (re)create

Mie at Kokochi linked to this TED talk by Larry Lessig as the best so far of the TED talk videos that she and Dav have watched. I have watched a few of the Ted talk videos and agree with Mie and Dav on the above Larry Lessig talk.
I saw Lessig speak on Copyright and CreativeCommons at SXSWi 2003. He is amazing in person, on topic, on track, personable, convincing and knows how to pack a punch. Per his style, Larry gives great examples in the above video, stays on topic, and really convinces one that read/write or (re)creativity is the way to go. I agree. To an extent.
I returned home from SXSWi 2003 all fired up about the brave new liberal world of creative commons and set most of my websites to a “Share-AlikeCreative Commons “copyright”. All was well until this last year when I have noticed a number of for-profit folks violating this charter with my photos and text, ie using it for their website that they are making a profit from (either it is a business where the photos are a part of a sold product or a website with a lot of ads) and not asking permission for the use of the photos or text.
I don’t mind if folks remix/reuse small bits of photos or text if it is for fun/art and they give attribution, or for fair use, but the wholesale lifting of photos and blog posts with no links back has forced me to drop the Creative Commons attribution on this site and my Flickr page and revert back to an “All Rights Reserved” copyright. I don’t like it, but after consulting the two lawyers and one US Patent Agent in my life, it is the only way under the current law that I protect my claim.
I would love Lessig’s ideas on the creative commons to come into widespread use, but it means that all of us have to agree to respect the Creative Commons and unfortunately there are many who willfully abuse it or are ignorant to the contract and under current US and EU law the only way to really protect it is to have a copyright.
In the beginning of this video, Lessig talks about his attempts to change ideas and laws at the governmental and legislative level but that he is no longer doing so as it is un-effective. For Creative Commons to be more than a lovely idea-set for the liberals and creative-minded amongst us, we do need governmental and legislative back up so that over time we can protect our art from the occasional or rare case of abuse.
Update: Sun. 12.16.07 – Tara Hunt of ::HorsePigCow:: more accurately gets at the essence of what I was trying to say in her blog post the “Tragedy of the Commons“.