Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Copyright: Creative Commons licences effective in court






If you use a Creative Commons copyright licence for your blog, like I do, you may be pleased to hear that various courts have recently recognised CC licences. You can see the "Some rights reserved" notice and CC logo at the bottom of each of my blog pages.

Amsterdam, Netherlands court upholds Flickr photos CC licence

Blogger and podcaster Adam Curry posted photos on the popular photo-sharing website Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license (the most common one, I think - it's certainly what I use for my own blog). That means non-commercial use of those photos is allowed as long as the author is credited. A Dutch tabloid however published a story about his children which reproduced some of his Flickr photos without his consent, and when he sued for breach of copyright and privacy infringement in the Netherlands, he won on the copyright front.

The judge didn't think much of the tabloid's argument that because the Flickr website said "this photo is public" they thought it was OK to use the photos without permisson, and they hadn't bothered checking the link to the CC licence conditions because they claimed it wasn't obvious. The judge said all they had to do was click on the symbol by the "Some rights reserved" notice and then they'd have seen a summary of the license, and if they weren't sure about it they should have asked his permission. (Via Out-law; that article has links at the end to his blog post and CC Canada's fuller info on the case plus the Dutch judgement too. The main CC blog also has a post about this.)

So, if you have photos anywhere - could be on Flickr, could be on your own blog etc - which you've licensed under a clear CC licence, you can rest easy that in the Netherlands at least your rights will be enforced (and there's hopefully no reason why courts elsewhere shouldn't enforce them either).

Spain - Spanish court says CC-licensed music isn't subject to collecting society fees

Then when the Spanish collecting society Sociedad General de Autores y Editores sued the owner of a bar in Badajoz, Spain which played CC-licensed music, claiming licence fees for public performance of music managed by the collecting society, the society lost.

A bit strange that they'd sue, given that (as the owner successfully showed the judge) the music he was using wasn't managed by the society - the music performed was licensed under CC licences which allowed "public display". (Via Creative Commons blog which links to the Spanish judgement and says "This case shows that there is more music that can be enjoyed and played publicly than that which is managed by the collecting societies".)

So songwriters and composers who want more exposure for their music can also use CC licences. However of course in this case presumably they didn't get any money direct for their music being played in the Spanish bar because the CC licences they used didn't require payment in that sort of situation (sorry, I'm not sure exactly what variety of licence was used in that case, my Spanish is limited to Si! Or is that Italian...?).

As you'll know more and more CC-licensed music is being played on podcasts e.g. by Uwe Hermann or made available for download, so it should be perfectly legal to listen to those podcasts and download those MP3s without risking record companies and the like trying to sue you, your children or your granny.

I plan to post more about copyright and your blog at some point.


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2 comments:

athen said...

Hi. My name is Athen. I was wondering you can guide me in installing creative common license into my blog. I was confused with where I should start, etc..

I thank you in advance.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for your comment Athen. It's in the queue! Just keep an eye on my blog (you can subscribe to my feed or email updates via the sidebar on the right).