Creative Commons licenses: Be careful out there

There’s a brewing story recounted here and here.
Briefly, as I understand it:

Adam Stacey took a cell phone picture of passengers evacuating the London subway in last summer’s bombing incident.

He moblogged the photo using a Creative Commons “by” license (which means anyone can use it for any purpose as long as credit is provided).

Gamma, a photo agency, grabbed the photo and distributed it, crediting Adam Stacey. They also entered it in a Time Magazine photo contest; it was one of the winners and appeared in Time with a “Adam Stacey/Gamma” credit.

Stacey thinks this is outrageous and that the credit should read “Adam Stacey/Creative Commons.”

Here’s the thing. On one hand, a “by” license means anyone can use the photo for pretty much any purpose, sell it, redistribute it, whatever, as long as there’s attribution. Which there was.

Stacey’s only case may be this clause in the “By” license:

“For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. ”

So the question is, did Gamma’s distribution include such clarity–and did Time drop the ball? Or did Gamma fail to honor the terms of a “by” license?

I’m sure we’ll hear more over time, although maybe not.

[Incidentally, I believe Creative Commons still needs some end-of-year donations. If you support the work they do, consider sending or PayPal-ing a donation.]

One Response to “Creative Commons licenses: Be careful out there”

  1. Christina Pikas Says:

    If he meant by, sharealike, non-commercial, then he should have used that version of the creative commons license. That’s the version that I use. His own fault because it’s all very clearly explained on the creative commons web page.

    If he meant by (only), then sounds like everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do.


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