Friday, July 27, 2007

Flickr and uncredited use of peoples work by major companies

PD Online has an interesting article titled Creative Commons Is Bad For Photography.

A mobile phone company grabbed a bunch of photos from Flickr and used them in an Australian ad campaign. Some Flickr members are furious that the company used the photos without asking first.

This is bad, but it gets worse. Some of the blame rests on the Flickr photographers. When they uploaded their personal snapshots, they attached a tag saying it was OK for anyone to use the images as long as credit was given. The phone company and its ad agency, Host, dutifully gave credit. However, no one bothered to get model releases from subjects who appear in some of the pictures, potentially opening the door to lawsuits. Some of the photos in the online component of the ad campaign have been changed so they don't feature identifiable people.

Some interesting angles are covered in the article and they tell you 'why Creative Commons is bad for people who publish photos' and how 'Creative Commons is bad for photography'


Shannon said...

hrmm... so how do you feel about hosting your images on Flickr then? Does what Alison said make more sense after reading the article? I'm interested to know your opinion :)

womanwandering said...

After Alison alerted me to the dangers of it, I started making my images very very small and putting my copyright mark across key points on the photograph ... I've been doing it for months now and doubt anyone could steal them for anything useful, they're thumbnail size when printed.

Perhaps that's why the Swiss ad agency contacted me about the image they wanted to use. My flickr images are of no use in a billboard campaign.

The odd thing was that when I started adding my copyright stamp to my images, I got into trouble with some of my readers and had to defend my decision. They felt it ruined the image but I also had to make my people images safe. Around the same time, the extreme right here in Belgium had paid a small amount for images in a stock library of some kind and the person in the photograph didn't want to be associated with the extreme right.

The article is correct, photographers do need to have more control over their images and I think I've taken all the necessary steps.

I still use flickr simply because it loads the images onto my website in the nicest possible format.

Shannon said...

ah yeah, I remember when you started using the copyright and then you received flack for it... but in a professional sense it's what you need to do and also in order to be responsible about the people in your images... the articles points on that alone support the need for more control, and your copyright seems to offer you that :)

Peter said...

Like Di pointed out, non-watermarked images can and will be abused. The incident involving the extreme right wing proves that point.

I also noticed that many blogs hotlink to full-seized photos, without ever giving credit to the source.

Currently I watermark using my blog's URL, which even tends to drive traffic to my blog when an image ends up on Google image search.

When it comes to original pics, rest assured that all copyright laws are blatantly disregarded online, especially on blogs.

Watermarking is the only way to handle this issue.