As you may know I’m not a big proponent of using Creative Commons licensing for my photographic work (see Creative Commons: A Great Concept, Iâ€™ll Never Employ), but I do recognize it has value in some contexts (see EXIF and Beyond: Lawrence Lessig Interview). A recent development caught my eye that highlights one of the weaknesses of the Creative Commons model. That weakness is that the system of Creative Commons licensing is only as good or reliable as those that use it properly. If those using Creative Commons licensed images that don’t follow the license, the honors based system breaks down and becomes useless if not a detriment to the photographer releasing their work under it.
The latest story exemplifying this weakness comes from Corey Doctorow improperly using Creative Commons licensed photographs by Aaron Landry on the Boing Boing web site. To date Corey Doctorow has been a staunch advocate of Creative Commons and has written on the subject several times, often being referenced on the Creative Commons blog. If one of Creative Commons most staunch supporters doesn’t use it properly then what is the likelihood the average person will?
An Example of Creative Commons Not Working – Aaron Landry
Of course the next question raised based on Aaron’s licensing terms is Boing Boing a commercial site? Is the placement of advertising on the site enough to warrant identifying it as a commercial site and thus making commercial use of his photography? Joshua Benton shares an interesting experience in trying to determine the Creative Commons perspective to a similar question he raised sometime ago. Unfortunately Creative Commons clarifies little on what is considered “Commercial Purposes”.Â This exposes yet another weakness of Creative Commons… an organization working to better define and protect image use, but still stuck in limbo on making the call or just unwilling to make the call on certain definitions. How is this an improvement over the ambiguity of copyright use and legal definition we see in our legal system?
[tags]Creative Commons, Aaron Landry, Boing Boing, photo, photography, licensing[/tags]