Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Wall

Since I started using Flickr to publish my photos over the internet, a good few years ago, I maintained a general policy of having my photos out there for all to see. This policy was a result of hoping remote family members would be able to use the photos to gain a window into our lives, but also the result of my general preference for transparency and for the sharing of intellectual property.
This policy's days are numbered, though, and shortly I will start the gradual process of making more and more of my photos available to friends only. This change in attitude is the result multiple reasons:
  1. The realization that my understanding of the concepts of privacy and security, although improving all the time, is always behind.
  2. Not wishing to have photos of my son in his nappies available for all to see when he's about to come to an age where he'll develop some sensitivities about such issues.
  3. The obvious attractions that everything with even the slightest potential to be gross has in attracting the worst kind of visitors to my Flickr page. Examples include photos of a child playing in the bath, nappy change photos, or the balls of a kangaroo - all of which attract record numbers of hits I don't necessarily want.
  4. The way the Creative Commons license on my photos has been abused. For example, the way Conservapedia (an American conservative's "encyclopedia" for morons) took the liberty of using a PZ Myers photo of mine on their PZ Myers page. PZ Myers is a person I greatly admire, yet my photo is being used for the purpose of defaming him!
    In my opinion, Conservapedia would be the winner if I was to change my photos' licensing away from Creative Commons into the more common "copyright" model I have so much antagonism towards. I therefore chose to maintain my interests by stating exactly what I think of Conservapedia on my photo page. That said, this incident was a bit of an eye opener that led me to ponder on the implications of having my photos online.
No, I am not about to hide all my Flickr photos behind an iron curtain. Some of my most watched Flickr photos are of tennis celebrities (shot at the Australian Open) or of electronics (items I shot before selling on eBay), and I have no problems whatsoever with anyone and everyone watching these photos and enjoying them to their heart's delight. The story is different, though, with the more personal stuff.


wile.e.coyote said...

This is that the start, soon you will start to block your blog from all and then I will have nothing to do over 9 hours a day.
I wonder if the copyright issues is the same for your blog, can I copy it and use it without violation of any rules or is it like that only for photos on Flicker open to all?

Moshe Reuveni said...

First of all, it seems you’re not aware of what a Creative Commons license means. It’s not a free for all; it has some restrictions, including:
1. You have to pay homage to the original source (e.g., by linking).
2. You’re not allowed derivative work. As in, you can’t take my photo and use it to make another thing without my permission.
3. You’re not allowed to make money out of my photos.

As for copywriting the blog. I don’t really know what’s allowed and what’s not; I would imagine that something that’s out there is, well, out there. Then again, copyright holders would probably disagree there. Whatever the case is, the fair use clause of the copyright regulations allows you to quote me or review my stuff.
Where you are potentially liable is with defamation laws. If you were to say that "Moshe is an idiot", and I decide to sue you, you will need to provide evidence for me being an idiot or open your wallet wide.

Sarah said...

I view your photos on a regular basis and as we don't catch up often find an interesting way to watch Dylan grow. I also use it as a source of inspiration for outings. As you guys do so much travel it is a great way to source ideas for places I didn't know about or hadn't thought about taking the kids. We headed off to the airplane museum at Moorabin after seeing your photos. So I hope I could be included in your inner sanctum if you privatise your photos...

Moshe Reuveni said...

It's interesting to hear what you're saying about the use you make of our photos, because that's exactly what they were originally intended for. Only that the original target audience, overseas family, seems to be the least interested (mostly due to Internet ignorance). Since realizing that a while ago I've just been using Flickr as a nice photo album for myself.
You made me very proud, and I'm happy to have contributed something positive to your parenthood adventures.

As for the continued access to my photos: Your husband is already registered as a Flickr friend (with viewing privileges). If you want to join the club, create a Yahoo account and let me know what it is. You'll have to login to that account to be able to see the hidden photos, which is a bit of a pain (sorry).

Anonymous said...

You could always just email Conservapedia's owner with a request not to use your photo.

He might honor it, regardless of the level of copyright you put it out with.

wile.e.coyote said...

btw, I use your flicker images to follow up on a friend I sent to visit you, sadly his images are still not appearing on your account

Uri said...

Yes, I wondered about that as well.