Crabby about credit

I begin to understand how completely frustrated pro photographers are by internet image-sharing behaviors.

Today’s fun:

photo of an egg decorated to look like a Dalek, shared on George Takei's Facebook pageSo, okay, I know I’ve said before that I don’t care that much when people use my image. That’s absolutely still true. But I do care about publicizing Creative Commons licenses. And I care considerably more that photographers who make a living from their work get credit for it, and that George Takei’s very popular Facebook page is -TERRIBLE- about crediting image sources.

(Yes, yes, I’m also a massive fair use fan, and yes, this is arguably fair use. But 1) even when it is fair use, not crediting is douchey. (Though not usually a copyright violation.) But also 2) this is not remotely transformative, nor is it news reporting or commentary, and it’s definitely commercial use. For all that Takei’s FB page takes some of the form of a personal page, it very much isn’t. (Dude’s career rebound, which is awesome, has gotta be partially credited to this page.) I really do think personal noncommercial uses like J. Random Internet posting to Reddit or zir Tumblr or whatever are often fair use.)

Anyway, here’s the email I sent his team:



You have the right to use my Dalek egg photo – IF you comply with the terms of the Creative Commons license under which I released it. Which you have not.

It would not be at all difficult for you to do a two-second google search and find the source of the image, since I’m a copyright lawyer, and have several times written
about the copyright and Creative Commons issues involved in the rampant unauthorized reuse of my photo online (despite the fact that all it takes for the use to be authorized is to provide the full credits necessary under the Creative Commons license).

I know you’re an incredibly popular image-sharing FB page, and I know you don’t usually bother to provide credit, so I’m not feeling nearly as charitable as I was when I corresponded with ThinkGeek about this last week.

I’m not requesting that you take the image down, I’m requesting that you fix the post to comply with the terms of the Creative Commons license. If you can’t do that, then I’ll report the unauthorized use to Facebook, for them to take it down.

Full details on how to -correctly- comply with the Creative Commons license here:

We’ll see what comes of that.

ETA (4/22, 8:09am Cntrl) – They fixed it, beautifully! Good on them!

Takei's FB post edited to include credit, link to original, and full acknowledgement of the Creative Commons license.

Meanwhile, a lawyer friend, Mike Sadowitz, has figured out my long con here:

Facebook comment - But what a fun way to police things! Make something super popular that turns into a meme and is widely and predictably circulated at the same time every year. Teach people about copyright. Become the most famous copyright librarian of all time. Profit.-Totally- how I planned it. (Except not. Happy Birthday again, Dalegg-owner!)

Second edit (4/22 am): last night, a very polite person on Twitter pushed me on my suggestion in the email that I would report their use to Facebook for takedown. I don’t agree that this is obvious fair use (as I said, commercial, non-transformative), but I do agree that reporting this would ultimately harm actual individuals just sharing content with their friends, and that I -wouldn’t- have exercised the takedown notice option for just that reason. So saying I would was kinda obnoxious, and I shouldn’t have done so.

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