Several days ago I saw this image on this website and really liked what I saw. So, since it was copyrighted with a Creative Commons 3.0 license I went ahead and reposted to both my Flickr stream and this blog. I received a tersely worded comment from the owner claiming that I had “stolen” the image and should remove it. Not being one to respond pleasantly to such a gross accusation, I reminded the image creator that they had licensed it using the CC 3.0 license and that I was using it within the rights outlined on the Creative Commons website.
Today I received this nice message from the good people at Yahoo (they bought Flickr a while back):
Dear Michael Casey,
We have received a Notice of Infringement from M. Pamela
Bumsted via the Yahoo! Copyright Team and have removed the
photo "50 Reasons Not to Change" from your photostream.
Subsequent NOIs filed against your account will result in
further action that may include termination without
If you believe that you were designated by mistake or
misidentification, or if you believe that you have not
infringed the copyright, you may submit a sworn
counter-notification as to the mistake or
misidentification. Please contact the Yahoo! Copyright Team
for more information on this process:
– Flickr Team
Okay, so I emailed and phoned the Yahoo Copyright Team and explained that the image was attributed to the creator and that it was licensed not with standard copyright (which I use on all of my photos) but using the Creative Commons license. Now I wait to hear back.
What is so damn frustrating here is the apparent unwillingness of one M. Pamela Bumsted to recognize the whole purpose of the CC 3.0 license. I was not using the image in a commercial manner and I was attributing ownership. The CC 3.0 license allows remixing and adaptation. It very clearly states on the Creative Commons site that “You are free to share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work – and to remix – to adapt the work”.
I can understand not wanting your work reposted somewhere else, but that is why I have chosen to copyright my photographs – I’ve gone so far with many of them as to send them to the Library of Congress for formal copyright protection. I can only assume that the owner of the image “50 reasons Not to Change” probably should have chosen that more restrictive copyright than the CC 3.0 license.
So, like I said, now we wait to hear what the Yahoo Copyright Team says. I don’t want to blow this out of proportion but if Yahoo says a CC 3.0 licensed work cannot be transmitted or copied then what will the Creative Commons people say? Doesn’t this undercut the whole purpose of the CC license?
And you know what's really sad? That's a really cool image with a great message that should be shared as much as possible.
EDIT: As one of my commenters points out, the complainant admits on her blog that she is not the creator or artist of the image in question. She states:
I first ran across this in New Mexico in 1991 very apropos at that time RE: women in the highway and environment departments. The specific source is in deep storage (still) but I’m hoping the creator will recognize it and let me know.