A huge storm has hit Flickr as of late and sadly most of it is a predictable story. The components of this story comprise of…
- – a very open system with many protection options
- – a talented but naive photographer
- – availability of high resolution images for download (to be confirmed)
- – Flickr making a bad situation worse by deleting the story of the effected artist
- – A publisher duped by an intermediary
The story in short… a photographer discovers her Flickr hosted images being sold without permission by a business in another country.
The writing has been on the wall with prospective problems that could hit unsuspecting photographers on Flickr. In all honesty photographers shouldn’t have to be paranoid, but sadly to avoid such problems we have to. I’m a huge fan of _Rebekka and it pains me to see that she is dealing with this, but the reality is that a little knowledge will go a long way. Taking the necessary steps to protect ones work is critical. Protecting ones images can be done by restricting availability of high resolution images, clearly watermarking images and most importantly copyrighting your photography.
As the details emerge it would seem that high resolutions images had to be made available for this to get as far as it has. In addition Rebekka with limited resources I fear is suffering from mounting legal costs, something a little easier handled if her work were copyrighted. I’m not sure how the law works in Iceland or the EU, but I know how it works in the U.S. and if you are putting photographs online you most definitely should be filing copyrights with the Library of Congress. A copyright statement on your images alone does not cut it. Protection afforded to photographers copyrighting their work enables hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties per infraction and can address incurred legal costs.
What has proved to be surprising is that when _Rebekka found out about the abuse she told her story on Flickr… Flickr then removed her entry after hundreds of fans offered their support. See a screen capture of her entry.
Most importantly what people are missing here is that Flickr needs to improve their service to offer every protection available to their subscribers. With out their passionate community they indeed would not be where they are. Flickr missed a golden opportunity to reinforce their position with their photographic community. They could have offered up a game plan for new protections or educational resources. Instead they shot themselves in the foot losing credibility by attacking their customer who already had a huge movement of sympathy behind her.
So what of OnlyDreemin.com, the company accused of selling her work with out permission? As it turns out they were duped themselves.
Jumping to Conclusions – rustylime.com
In most cases liability resides with the buyer when licensing work and using images with in the correct parameters or terms. This is not always the case though and licensing responsibility can be a confusing thing (see Dan Heller’s articles for great examples). This can impact buyers and photographers so do your homework and check out the following resources:
– Photography Business Topics by Dan Heller
– Photography, Trademarks and Copyrights by Dan Heller
– Model Release Primer by Dan Heller
– Editorial Photographers Copyright Resource page
– Copyright Office Basics – US Government
A little knowledge will go a long way.
[tags]Flickr, Rebekka, censorship, copyright, photograph, photographer, Onlydreemin, controversy[/tags]