I was wondering when the day would come, the day I will receive some legal threat over something I wrote on my blog.
That particular threat arrived two days ago, when I received a request by the photographer of a photo I embedded into a post to remove the photo. Sadly, that request came attached with a "or I will take legal actions" threat. You can read it for yourself in this post's comments.
First, I would like to clarify that in this particular case there is no legal grounds for the threat. Although the photographer has changed the licence on his photo from Creative Commons to a full Copyright one, at the time I have embedded the photo into my post it bore a Creative Commons licence. As explained by Prof Michael Fraser, a firm copyright supporter, during the event discussed at this post, once a creator gave up on their copyright monopoly privileges and gone Creative Commons, there is no going back. Fraser was saying this in order to deter the crowd from choosing Creative Commons, but his inputs clearly put me in the clear.
However, although I am in the right, this does not mean that I have much of a choice on the matter. Yes, I suspect it would have been very hard for the photographer to file a lawsuit against me; in all likelihood we live at different parts of the world. But do I have the resources to take part in a proper legal fight, even when it is clear I am on the right side? No; I have neither the time nor the money to wage in legal warfare. Which, by the way, happens to be one of my main criticism towards contemporary matters of copyright: can any normal person fight back when a corporation such as Disney takes down their YouTube video under copyright claims? Obviously, not. [Note I mention Disney in particular because they did take down a private YouTube video of mine, featuring my baby son, under a copyright claim claim. They did so some 5 years after the video was posted. The reason? Star Wars music playing in the background.]
Legal deliberations aside, I did not hesitate and removed the embedded photo. I did so because I know fully well how annoying it is to have a photo of mine misrepresented. Take, for example, how my PZ Myers photo is used in an unfavourable Conservapedia entry. I accept that and others as the price I have to pay for standing upright and publishing my photos under a Creative Commons licence. I believe that overall, the world is a better place when knowledge and culture is spread unhindered.
While I accept misrepresentation as part of the deal, but I can understand other that don't. Think about it before you stick a Creative Commons licence on your stuff; I know I did, and I do not regret it when I see my photos getting used for creative causes all over the Internet.
Image by A. Diez Herrero, Creative Commons licence