by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 21st 2007 8:06am
Stack writes in to let us know that the family of a teenager in Texas has sued Creative Commons, Virgin Mobile Australia and Virgin Mobile USA because Virgin Mobile Australia happened to use a photo of the girl in an ad campaign in Australia. The photo had been taken by the girl's youth counselor, who posted it on Flickr, with a Creative Commons license saying the photo could be used with attribution (the ad apparently includes the Flickr URL, so it appears to be following the terms). There are some bizarre parts to the story. It's not clear why they're suing Creative Commons, since the photographer (who is apparently suing as well) chose the license in question. If he didn't want to have the photo used, he shouldn't have picked a CC license (or should have picked a more restrictive CC license). It's certainly ridiculous to then blame CC because the guy didn't know what kind of license he was choosing or how it could be used. In fact, the original photo is still using a CC Attribution 2.0 Generic license. You would think before suing the guy would have at least changed the license. It also doesn't make any sense that the family is suing Virgin Mobile USA. It's an entirely separate company from Virgin Mobile Australia. Also, the family says that they're quite upset because people can now "Google" their daughter. Yet, the ad doesn't have her name, and the photo was put online by the youth counselor, so it's not clear how they could be Googling the ad (and, of course, by suing, the family is only drawing a lot more attention to the ad). Finally, the family is complaining that this is defamatory and somehow insulting -- yet it's difficult to see how the ad can be construed as insulting. It's hard to see such a case getting very far -- though, it is interesting to see that Virgin Mobile was using CC Flickr photos in their ad campaign.
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