I got to start my Sunday morning with a really angry email:
Hey Bug Girl, practice what you preach!
[reference to my Digital Millennia Copyright Act notice on the sidebar]……I stumbled upon this text by following hits on one of copyrighted Flickr photos that I ultimately found to be displayed without permission right there on the same page of your blog. It looks like that widget you use to scrape Flickr photos and display them in the upper left column of your blog is grabbing other people’s copyrighted work.
Basically, this photographer’s concern relates to the little Flickr Widget in the uppper left corner of this blog. It goes and scrapes this public feed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/insect/ and displays linked thumbnails. He is absolutely correct that the widget doesn’t distinguish between things that are marked as copyright restricted and Creative Commons.
(And here is my question to some of my friends who make money off their photos): How is that different than what happens when I post a link to Twitter or Facebook saying “look at this great photo!”, and those web pages grab a thumbnail of the image, and display it with a link?
Essentially, the photos are “public” on Flickr, and linked, and the Terms of Service for the widget API allow me to display these photos as thumbnails (in fact, their restriction is for displaying over 30 photos, and I have 4 displayed!)
This discussion has happened before among professional photogs; there is a rather disturbing chain of communications with Flickr here discussing unauthorized re-license of photos for cell phone wallpapers. Which could, I guess, be seen as a “thumbnail”, depending on your phone. There is also a court case, Kelly vs. Arriba Soft Corporation, which established a precedent for showing thumbnails of copyright protected photos in search results as legally ok.
What say you?
If enough folks say I’m in the wrong here, I’ll remove the widget, since I don’t want to be a content stealer. I hate it when that happens to me.
(edited 5/22/11 to add link to Kelly court case after a tip by Sarah–thanks! Librarians FTW!)
EDITED 5/25/2011 to include link to new Opt-in Only Flickr Group: Take my insects! Please!