Commonly Creative

If you don’t want other people to use your work, don’t license it under a CC license.That’s the basics of Creative Commons Licenses. You share your creative works with others, since you believe that free information is worth something. Justin Wong, a church counsellor, photographed one of his students, Alison Chang. Wong posted the photo on flickr using a Creative Commons Attribution License, meaning, in general, that any party may use the photo for any reason as long as they attribute it to the creator

Virgin Mobile, an Australian cellular operator, used Wong’s photo in one of their advertisements. Chang contacted a lawyer and decided to sue virgin mobile, as well as Creative Commons Corp. Though I see no way that they’ll have they way under Israeli Law (and I am not a US lawyer), it seems that most of their claims rise from Model Release and violation of privacy (via The Inquirer. (see also)

If anyone should be liable here it is the original photographer, not anyone else. Even though the model is under 18, she was in a public place, the photograph is not degrading and there is no implied or non-implied sexuality. The image itself is allowed for use in the same manner any other photo on Flickr is.

Any other court ruling might invalid Creative Commons as a license and revoke the ability to use these photos in any manner. Though it is quite unpopular to stand alongside major corporations, this time we have to. It is our right to license our photos in this manner and it is crucial to rely on those licenses for free trade of ideas and imagery. Without such reliance, the whole Idea of Licensing would mean that I still had to track down the original models in the photo and ask for their permission, meaning, de-facto, that this license will still require me to ask permission.

A license is a stated permission to use the work under specified conditions. If one would have to phrase a “Creative Model Release” license and to mandate models to sign it while using CCed photos, the whole idea of creative commons will die.

Original image by Justin Wang, CC-BY.

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