I’m a fan of Creative Commons. I share my photos, my web content and my podcasts with CC licensing, which means that you’re free to use my stuff, but you’ve got to give me credit if you do so. Sure I know that people ‘steal’ my pics sometimes–it happens most often with pics of me that are reposted by these folks (which, btw, I find fairly disturbing but I try not to think about it too often).
Recently I discovered that a picture of me was lifted from John’s flickr feed and was used to illustrate a misogynistic blog article. I learned this because a friend had seen the article and recognized me in the photo. This made me feel incredibly uncomfortable–primarily because I felt that my picture being affiliated with the post implied that I had endorsed the writing or was somehow involved with it (FWIW, because the article detailed the sexual exploits of the author, I felt it was possible some people might assume that I’d had a relationship with him). Now in this case the blog author didn’t use appropriate CC attribution, so I dropped a comment on his post suggesting that he review the rules for the Commons and also made it clear that I had no connection to the author’s words despite my image being on display. Within 48 hours my pic was gone, replaced by that of another nameless woman.
I tend to assume when I license something for Creative Commons, that my generosity will be mirrored with responsibility on the part of those who use my work. Surely I am naive. And there’s little that I can do when my images are connected with content that’s antithetical to my values, especially if the user has followed the rules of the Commons by giving appropriate attribution (which, in some cases might be even more discomfiting than if the image was used anonymously because my flickr identity links directly to my various websites).
I’m not going to stop sharing via Creative Commons and if anything I think I’ve got a bit thicker skin now–so when this happens again (and I’m just assuming it will) I won’t take it so personally. However, I’d like to know if any of you are wary of the Commons or have been burned by the unattributed use of your work? Many of my friends add a copyright watermark to their photos to discourage theft, and while I’ve considered this, I figured it not worth the time investment on my part. Perhaps I should reconsider?