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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Ensure Creative Commons Compliance At Your Company? 64

Posted by timothy
from the can-we-see-the-chicken's-papers? dept.
An anonymous reader writes At the non-profit where I work, there isn't a lot of money for buying stock photos or licensing professional images. So, we've turned to sources of 'free' imagery, notably Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr. While we're not a huge organization, we do have 100+ individuals creating content in one way or another. We're now wrestling with compliance of the CC licensing, like including links for By Attribution images, etc. Our legal counsel is also scared of photographers changing their licenses and suing us after the fact. How do you document the images you find were licensed one way in the past, especially when numerous people from across the country are acquiring the images?
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Ensure Creative Commons Compliance At Your Company?

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  • Escrow service? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toby (759) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @12:54PM (#47307319) Homepage Journal
    Send a copy of the image and the license agreement to a 3rd party on concluding it.
    • javascript:void(open('//web.archive.org/save/'+encodeURI(document.location)))

      Using the above bookmarklet will archive the entire page in the Internet Archive immediately (timestamped by the Internet Archive). The Internet Archive crawler respects robots.txt, but it doesn't appear the Flickr robots.txt file will prevent you from using this method.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We don't. By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out, or if you're ballsy, try work-for-hire or buy all their images outright. The photographers we worked with, are usually pretty chilled if we forget to renew the licensing. Contracts are there when things get awkward or if you're a big company don't respond to them. Most photogs are small shop independent contractors and they guard relationshi

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @01:18PM (#47307513)

      By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out

      My company came to the same conclusion. "Creative Commons" is a legal minefield. Commercial stock photo agencies like Shutterstock and 123rf have clear contracts, much better selection, better search engines, and cost effective bulk licenses. If you have legal counsel involved, Creative Commons is already costing you more than commercial licensing. I prefer to pay artists and photographers rather than lawyers.

      • Ditto here... There are so many pro-level stock photo sites out there which you can draw from that it's almost silly not to use them for the minor stuff like clipart and smaller image elements.. For the major stuff, hire a local photog, so that you can get local imagery, results you can tweak and tune, and so that you have a contract all spelled out and notarized.

      • By the time you add all the manpower, compliance, and lawyering, it's cheaper to just buy it from the photographer/agency with a contract clearly spelled out

        My company came to the same conclusion. "Creative Commons" is a legal minefield. Commercial stock photo agencies like Shutterstock and 123rf have clear contracts, much better selection, better search engines, and cost effective bulk licenses. If you have legal counsel involved, Creative Commons is already costing you more than commercial licensing. I prefer to pay artists and photographers rather than lawyers.

        We don't even use that. We order CDs full of pictures. I dunno where they come from, I don't care. We own the photos outright and they are good for generalized photos (i.e. some support person with a headset smiling, ready to take your order) They have some sort of system where you can log that you used a picture so its not reused in a way that leads to problems. I don't do it much, I'm usually doing applications and need buttons or icons. Lucky for me the CD's incidentally include them and the rest of the

        • by Smerta (1855348)

          We don't even use that. We order CDs full of pictures. I dunno where they come from, I don't care. We own the photos outright and they are good for generalized photos (i.e. some support person with a headset smiling, ready to take your order)

          Ummmmm.... you might wanna be careful there. Especially the "dunno where they come from, I don't care." You should.

          If some scammer from FooVille fills up a CD with images pulled from the internet, images he/she has no right to re-distribute (copyright assignment), you are exposed as well. Even if you can point to the CD, point to the scammer and say, "Here's the order, this person told me he owned all the rights, blah blah blah", I can assure you that the tenet "ignorance is no excuse" still holds. T

  • svn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShaunC (203807) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @01:06PM (#47307419)

    At a former job, we had a similar situation, no budget for graphics so we only used photos from places like morguefile. We handled it through version control. A subversion pre-commit hook was set up that would reject any commit containing an image file unless specific properties were set on the files (subversion allows custom "svnprops" which are essentially user-defined metadata tags). One of the required attributes was the source URL that the file came from.

    I guess this may not have helped much if an image was later re-licensed. Perhaps taking a screenshot of the source site, with some visible indication of the license, would help.

    • by maligor (100107)

      I hope they don't torture you with SVN at your current job anymore.

      Git would actually be more effective for this since it requires the history and the hash that points to it be rewritten, so you can be sure that atleast internally no-one is messing around if you know the hash. Unless ofcourse the person messing with you is a cryptography savant, who's figured out how to rewrite the history without affecting the SHA hash and still make it seem like the history makes any sense.

      • by AaronLS (1804210)

        You're talking about history integrity, he's talking about gated checkins. He isn't worried about someone messing with the history, he's simply preventing images be added to the repo without certain metadata also being included with the image. It's not a matter of someone trying to subvert the history, but a standard addition of a image file with some insurance that it include the metadata that documents its licensing.

        Did someone mention a no-GIT source control? -> If yes, mention GIT regardless of how

  • by sunking2 (521698) on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @01:24PM (#47307553)
    It's why money exists in the first place. To make life easier for you by exchanging it for things that are more difficult to acquire.
    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      You might as well say "don't be cheap, hire a photographer to take the pictures." Obviously while rights management for CC pictures is a small difficulty, raising the funds to pay for photographs is a large difficulty that has its own headaches and expenses.

  • As you're discovering, it costs you more to worry about being legal than just paying for photos in the first place.

    THIS is the reason so many businesses just avoid open source/creative commons completely. Its too easy to get into trouble, or at least, its too easy to worry about getting into trouble even if you never actually do get into trouble.

    There are many ways you can protect yourself by documenting the process, but 9 times out of 10, at that point, you've wasted so much time manually documenting the

    • Your comparison seems to assume that just because you've bought a commercially licensed image that you don't have to track it the same way you would a CC-licensed one. You actually probably have to track it more stringently for the commercial one than for the CC-licensed one, because you KNOW that someone's expecting to get paid for the commercial one.

      "Hey, you know that background image we've been using for 5 years for the X site? Where'd we get that? iStockphoto? Can you track down the purchase info along
      • by rtb61 (674572)

        So how many years old? 70 years after the creators death, now that is a lot of tracking especially when it comes to photos and trying to establish proof of who actually took the image and keeping a record of the contractual conditions and the payment. Obviously some rework of copyright has to occur, especially when they are trying to push the idea of a similar idea and patented methods of creating an image. Lawyers have been very hard at work for decades ensuring they will have lots and lots of work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So I am a Rights and Permissions manager for a mid sized business that does publishing services for companies like HMH, Pearson, Cengage and others.

    Your company should have a permissions manager and an asset database including contracts and rights information (RMS Rights Management System). I can't think of any off the shelf systems but the company I work for has a custom FileMaker image asset database and one of our main clients Pearson uses a system called PRISM (Pearson Rights Information System Manageme

    • by mlts (1038732)

      I feel stupid by asking this, but what would be a decent off-the-shelf permissions/licensing manager suitable for a small business?

      • He means a person, not a computer program.

        This is the organizational bloat that kills industry. Everyone wants a person to be employed to scratch their itch for them.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        I feel stupid by asking this, but what would be a decent off-the-shelf permissions/licensing manager suitable for a small business?

        I expect most normal people would just use Excel. :)

        Or maybe some small off the shelf asset tracking program. Or whip something up from an asset tracking system template for Access or Filemaker Pro, etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      spoken like a management professional

      how can any organization exist without a *WHATEVER MY TITLE IS*

      we are the most important thing in the world

    • including contracts and rights information (RMS Rights Management System).

      Somewhere, somehow, I am certain that Mr. Stallman just shuddered in horror...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 24, 2014 @01:35PM (#47307649)

    There's millions of reposted photos there that Joe Pic-Stealer and his friends have marked as CC licensing. So just because it says CC doesn't mean a damn thing.

  • by Njovich (553857)

    Just use images with a proper license and a company that is willing to license to you under terms that are not so fuzzy. CC sucks because it is so unspecific and creative types just don't understand the ramifications and limits of their choices. The sad thing is that the world would be a better place if CC never came into existence, because then you would at least have had a chance for proper public licenses to evolve.

    Otherwise, you are a company, so you could probably just open up a sixpack of lawyers if y

  • you have no way of verifying that whoever posted it to Flickr actually owns it or has rights to offer it under the stated license, and if you are easier to find than they are, guess who's getting sued for copyright infringement
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