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Old 02-19-2008, 11:33 PM   #33
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 49
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Originally Posted by socalrailfan
The problem is that once something is posted on the internet it is fair game unless used for profit. Now if someone uses an image of yours to promote their website and it's used in a way that they make money from having your image on the site then it's illegal.

There's lots of gray areas here folks and I think some are jumping the gun a bit without having all the details or even trying to contact the Flckr owner.
This is not a correct interpretation of copyright law. Posting something to the Internet does not place it in the public domain, or establish a creative commons license, or in any other way make it "fair game" from a legal standpoint.

Nor is it true that only commercial infringement is against the law. If you created it, you own it, you have the exclusive right to control the use of it, and only very specific affirmative acts on your part can change that.

Mind you, anyone who's been on the Net for any amount of time knows that the dominant meme is that copyright is a Evil Conspiracy and anything you can gain access to and save to your hard drive is "fair game." What started out as a gift culture ("I wrote this cool program, here it is if you want to use it") has mutated into a theft culture. To a lot of people, "photo sharing" on a site like Flickr means sharing their collection, not their creations.

You're right that as a practical matter, once something has been posted to USENET or the Web or an FTP server it's impossible to exercise the control that the law grants each of us. Anything that can be displayed on your monitor can be captured.

But I don't think that means we throw up our hands and surrender. Yahoo takes NOI complaints seriously (though I understand the backlog is a couple of weeks or more), and Flickr will delete not just a photo but an entire account where there is systematic abuse. The Flickr terms of service make very clear that posting other people's photos is not allowed. I don't think it's an overreaction to make sure trains_09 gets forcefully reminded of that.

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