Creative Commons Sued

The Creative Commons, along with Vigin Mobile, has been sued by Susan Chang and Justin Ho-Wee Wong over the "unauthorized and exploitive use of Alison's Chang's image in an advertising campaign launched in June 2007 to promote free text messaging and other mobile services."

Here's an excerpt from Lawrence Lessig's posting:

Slashdot has an entry about a lawsuit filed this week by parents of a Texas minor whose photograph was used by Virgin Australia in an advertising campaign. The photograph was taken by an adult. He posted it to Flickr under a CC-Attribution license. The parents of the minor are complaining that Virgin violated their daughter's right to privacy (by using a photograph of her for commercial purposes without her or her parents permission). The photographer is also a plaintiff. He is complaining that Creative Commons failed "to adequately educate and warn him . . . of the meaning of commercial use and the ramifications and effects of entering into a license allowing such use." (Count V of the complaint).

The comments on the Slashdot thread are very balanced and largely accurate. (The story itself is a bit misleading, as the photographer also complains that Virgin did not give him attribution, thereby violating the CC license). As comment after comment rightly notes, CC licenses have not (yet) tried to deal with the complexity of any right of privacy. The failure of Virgin to get a release before commercially exploiting the photograph thus triggers the question of whether the minor's right to privacy has been violated.

Source: Lessig, Lawrence. "On the Texas Suit against Virgin and Creative Commons." Lessig 2.0, 22 September 2007.

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