Monday, July 21, 2008

Creative Commons Photo License Broken, twice in one day!

PodCamp Boston 3 Shirts - Front
PodCamp Boston 3 Shirts - Front by Financial Aid Podcast, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND

Two sites reposted Christopher Penn's Podcamp Boston T-Shirt photo today and each made an error in following his Creative Commons license.

The above attribution how I think Christopher Penn's photo should be posted on other sites when shared. Christopher doesn't ask for Share Alike which asks to put the same license on the photo when used elsewhere, but there's no harm in adding it, if you like.

First up is the Geek Force Five Blog:

Geek Force Five uses CC BY-NC-ND without Attribution


I sent Chris Clark at Geek Force Five an email and I'm sure he'll add it. I'm just posting here, to use this as an example of how many very good blogger, don't even realize the correct way to use flickr photos.

Update: Chris Clark fixed it right away. Just forgot to add the text on there when he posted. Thanks!

It's flickr's fault.

Next up is Adam Sell's blog, Go To It:

Globe uses CC BY-NC-ND photo Commercially


He needed to ask Christopher if it was ok to use the photo before using it on a site like Obviously commercial. If he already asked, great, but I tried to comment on the Globe's site and got this error after submitting the comment: Comments are Broken

The I hit the BACK button on my browser and got a sign in screen: Requires Login


So I don't know if he asked or not.

It's flickr's fault.

Flickr's photo sharing tools do not make it easy to carry along the license info when you repost a flickr photo.

With Flickr's new SHARE THIS feature they are carrying on the YouTube method that if you click on a photo, you'll end up on the video's original page and be able to see the license info over there. That doesn't follow the SHARE ALIKE CREATIVE COMMONS license.

Many people don't get that and will copy the photo from the Geek Force Five and never even know to give Christopher Penn attribution, and might even give credit to Geek Force Five.

That wouldn't be right.

More info here:
New Feature Request: CC License on Flickr SHARE THIS code


  1. Thanks for highlighting it, Steve. I emailed the author of the Globe blog to let him know that the Globe is a commercial entity, and the NC tag is a very important one in the world of community vs. business.

    Thanks as always for being an advocate of intellectual property rights for independent media makers.

  2. CC licensing is not widely understood - and neither is the concept of copyright, upon which it is based!

    BTW: "Christopher doesn't as" - you mean "ask" I think.

  3. @christopher: Thanks. If I don't write about these things, they'll keep posting without understanding how it should be done.

    @deek: The more we point out errors when we see them, the more people will start doing it right.

    I fixed the typo, Thanks.

  4. Thanks to Chris and Steve for calling this to my attention. Although Chris has since given me permission to use the photo, I thought it best to remove it entirely to get rid of any concerns that might have existed. I've since taken my own photo of something else and replaced it on the blog.

    For the record, the "Go To It" blog should not be considered mine. It is a blog to which I am but a correspondent. My name does not even appear in the "Contributors" list, which you can see on the right hand side of the page, and in the screenshot.

  5. @Adam I think a better solution would have been to leave the photo on the blog, and add attribution with an update to the blog post, or a comment, explaining what happened.

    By deleting all reference to the original photo and this discussion, you've missed out on both a learning and teaching experience.

    You've also made the blog posts, photos and links that are sending traffic to the site, confusing because the people will see a different photo.

    Look over on the Geek Force Five blog to see how Chris handled it.

    Now there is an instructional comment stream over there where people will learn something.

    On, nothing.

    Please reconsider.

  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    I agree, the photo should be left up with an edit to the post about what happened so others can learn from it.