Sunday, June 28, 2009

LocalKicks site uses my photographs without permission

I recently found out that one of my pictures on Flickr has been used on a site called LocalKicks in some article on privacy. I have sent several emails today buy have not received any reply so I decided to write about here and on Flickr in order to raise awareness of the fact that some businesses seem to think that they can use any image they want on the internet without bothering with legal niceties such as getting permission first.

I am not a professional photographer but I have many friends who are and this cavalier use of images is particularly annoying for them as it makes earning a living even more difficult since people are unwilling to pay if they can get stuff for free.

Hoot for Privacy

I have been looking at various forums on Flickr and it seems that this is not the first time that LocalKicks has been caught using pictures without permission (see here for other cases). I regularly let sites use my pictures but that is my decision and is guided by what I consider important. My Flickr page clearly states that all rights are reserved though the Commons Creative Licence I signed up for does state that I do allow the use of images as long as they are for non - commercial purposes and I am credited. This case fails both those criteria.

I would appreciate any advice on what to do next.


LocalKicks has just take the picture off their site.


bristle said...

That's a pretty interesting Flickr thread you linked to there! A good example of spontaneous crowdsourcing I reckon...

I don't really have any advice, except to plug away, in a courteous but firm manner. You are in the right here, and it's neither here nor there that you are not a 'professional' - your photographs are unique images, moments in time captured only by you! And I think that's worth a few minutes of typing in a credit and a link at the very least.

As a blogger, I do try to make sure I credit pictures other people have taken, and I do always credit other people's writing. I don't understand why so many commercial websites and MSM have such difficulty doing the same!

I did once get asked to remove a picture by a professional photographer from my blog. I had saved it & reuploaded it to my own blog so as not to be a bandwidth thief, and given a straightforward credit, and a direct link to the blog post from which it came, and a link to their homepage. In the circumstances I felt the guy was being a bit of a dick (I was supporting the issue he was writing about, commending him for his actions, and driving traffic to his blog), but I apologised and took it down, because it's his picture and he's asked me to do it. I'm sure he felt I was being a dick too! But whether or not either of us was a dick, it was a very simple issue to sort out. His photo; I used it without prior permission; case closed.

/mea culpa

Oh, one thing does come to mind - perhaps write it up for Paul Bradshaw's Online Journalism Blog? That's a good place for discussion of journalistic ethics and web-based publishing issues. (I recently emailed Paul to ask if he had seen the St Petersburg Times' web-friendly series of Scientology articles, and he very graciously invited me to make a guest post on the subject.)

Anyway, however you decide to proceed, best of luck!

teacher dude said...

Thanks for the links and the advice. I think many people when they start on the internet are not aware of rules concerning how to use other people's stuff, but this particular site is not just somebody's blog, it's a fully fledged commercial operation so ignorance of the laws concerning copyright etc. is not an excuse.

I have been sending emails to the site and trying to contact them via their Flickr page and Twitter but no luck yet. I'll see what happens next. I have also been contacting other people whose photos appear on the site without permission.

Looking at the comments on the thread mentioned it seems that LocalKicks has decided to play hardball, threatening people with legal action over what they wrote in the comments.

This is a dumb move and I hope it backfires on them.

bristle said...

I saw that - he seems to be acting in a very grumpy and silly way. All he needs to do is acknowledge the problem, apologise, and make assurances that he will implement systems which will prevent this sort of thing happening again - none of which will cost money, a great deal of time, or bad publicity.

The alternative - which appears to be the furrow he is choosing to plough - involves ill will, the risk of becoming a meme, mistrust, a great deal of effort and time, and the possibility of spending a not inconsiderable amount of cash. I wonder how his advertisers feel about being associated with such an organisation.

Truly bizarre when one considers how doing the right thing would in many cases mean only taking better notice of CC licences and attributing. The cost-free images are still out there for him to use - and legally - if only he realised it!