Creative Commons and real life

What happens when works licensed under Creative Commons hit real life? My theory is that CC is no different to any other type of licensing in principle, and that posting stuff online will always leave one open to abuse, be it with proprietary or non-proprietary works.

This is brought by the interesting case of the mobile phone pictures of the London Underground bombings in July, which travelled the world via blogs under a Creative Commons licence. This was a great example of the power of open licensing and the advent of the “citizen journalist”. Now the pictures have appeared in Time’s Pictures of the Year feature, but one image is credited to the author and Gamma, a wire-photo agency. The question is now, how can they claim any sort of ownership over the picture?

This comes at the same time that Lessig has expressed some concern about the incompatibility between copyleft licences.

Interesting times ahead.

Leave a Reply