Stealing citizen content

I am sitting in my hotel room in Seattle researching all the sites that used my photographs from yesterday’s Microsoft announcement in violation of my Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial license. I broke a story with high-resolution photographs and commercial websites decided not only to use my content without attribution but in one case a site was selling prints of my photographs.

Breaking news is very competitive and everyone wants the scoop in their search for full and in-depth coverage. Unlike a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge or something artsy I feel like these sites already have benefitted from my work and I don’t really think anyone is buying a 4×6 print of Dean Hachamovitch. I have heard a few suggestions that I should watermark my photographs to prevent this from happening but I think that just results in ugly images and I want to share content I hope is enjoyed by others.

I know this same problem happens every day to content producers across the web and I just wanted to share my personal frustration of having it happen to me to the benefit of large content producers.

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4 comments

Commentary on "Stealing citizen content":

  1. Michael Tippett on wrote:

    That sucks but why are you using Flickr to store your news-related photos? It wasn’t designed for this purpose. You should move to a specialty service like NowPublic if you want to protect your material.

  2. Josh Bancroft on wrote:

    That sucks, man. Hope you get it resolved – keep us updated!

    BTW, I was sitting in the row in front of you at Gnomedex. I never got a chance to introduce myself, but I’m a fan of the blog!

  3. John Dowdell on wrote:

    Hi Niall, how would I search for which sites used your work in defiance of your offered deal…?

    jd

  4. Niall Kennedy on wrote:

    I found out about the sites after Gnomedex attendees and Microsoft employees told me how popular my photographs had become and I went looking for the sites they mentioned.

    I did not mention any of the sites in my post because I wanted to first contact the authors and let them know I was unhappy with their use of my work. The worst offender, bink.nu, has still not replied to my e-mail yet received hundreds of thousands of visitors as a result of its use of my photos.