Copyright, copyleft, copytheft – no real protection in Commons?

Slugger mainly relies on leeching, at least initially, content from other sources to provide the starting point for blogs. Rarely we provide original content that the MSM then takes and follows up, sometimes with a credit more often not. It usually doesn’t bother me when this happens and I’ve only ever chased a media outlet once when they took video footage and passed it off as coming from a ‘bystander’ and my commentary as from a ‘passerby’.

I’m an Open Content advocate – take it, do what you will, just recognise where it came from. This idea is clearly defined in the Creative Commons License in use across sites like Wikipedia. The only real restriction on using content from another is the request for a credit.

Does this and can it work?

For example recently reading a story in An Phoblacht with a photograph of a train at Lisburn station I thought; ‘there is no way SF took that photo or purchased it’ and sure enough when you look about you find it comes from a Open Content project under a Creative Commons Licence.

As with most, the originator can’t/won’t be bothered or isn’t interested in enforcing his licence/copyright and probably wouldn’t know the content had been lifted at all.

Do Creative Commons Licences really have value or is the reality non-profit contributors to the internet have their content used and/or abused by anyone and only business contributors have the money and legal backing to apply content restrictions, as we recently witnessed with the BBC limiting Slugger’s ability to use their material?

  • OC

    “only business contributors have the money and legal backing to apply content restrictions”

    That about sums it up. Just like for everything us.

    Although I think the BBC’s policy is shortsighted re SluggerO’toole, and other political blogs that are more than willing to give proper attribution.

  • Actually there are different Creative Content licences. If the photographer had used the share-alike non-commercial licence, An Phoblacht would have had to have paid.

  • Mark McGregor


    I don’t want to get solely focused in the example but I spoke to the copyright holder and while he didn’t want involved in this blog his material was taken without the one thing he expected – a credit.

  • Shutterbug

    I had the good fortune to take a really good picture of Bruce Springsteen at his gig in the RDS over the summer. I stuck it on flickr that night, and I received a few emails from folks who follow my flickr stream to say it was on the relevant online content page of a national newspaper the next day.

    I dropped them a line, half-jokingly, giving my name and address, and asking for £50 for its use.
    Surprisingly, the cheque turned up a week later.

    Dunno how well this would have worked on a local, or a blog such as this. And if people hadn’t dropped me a line, I probably would have missed it.

    Like you Mark, I am a fan of Open Content; but then, I have a day job which pays me ok, and isn’t photography related. I was talking to a press photographer last week, and was telling him about some live photos I had done for a local band, free and gratis. They’re just starting out, can’t afford a professional, etc etc. His response was “it’s people like you that are killing it for us.”

    And I suppose journalists might look at the internet the same way. I have some thoughts on the evolution of all of this, and the changing role of a journalist. Must write them down some day!

  • artie

    Interesting stuff-but the market’s already flooded.