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Need advice about creative commons license!

  1. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 5 years ago

    I used an image from Flickr that was under creative commons, labeled for noncommercial use. I guess I thought hubs were noncommercial if they didn't sell products. Anyway, the photographer contacted me and demanded $500. I immediately removed the photo and contacted him to tell him it had been removed. Now he is demading that I pay him $250 because I used the photo in the past. I'd call my lawyer, but he died a few months back.

    I've read everything I can find about what "noncommercial" means for creative commons, and the definition is very vague. Does anyone have any advice for me? Thanks in advance!

    1. BRIAN SLATER profile image85
      BRIAN SLATERposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      habee, did you give the photo the source directly underneath it.?

      1. habee profile image90
        habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this


        1. BRIAN SLATER profile image85
          BRIAN SLATERposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Then this photographer since the hub was published has received free publicity by any readers of your article.

          I would spell out to him that you were under the impression and you have used Flicker on many occasions and not had any other problems that you thought by sourcing him as the original owner you were acting in good faith.

          Once you found out you removed the photo and have offered him a apology for the misunderstanding. Tell him you are not going to pay any money because you firmly believed you were acting within your rights.

          Also have you sent Flicker an email stating the facts about this, and the harassment this man is causing you.

    2. Sally's Trove profile image99
      Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm really glad you brought up this subject, although I wish the circumstances were not so trying to you.

      I've wondered about this as well. The fact is that since we make money (paltry though it may be these days) with our Hubs, using CC material under the circumstances you describe is not a noncommercial use.

      I've always stayed away from using material under this license when commercial use is excluded.

      I agree with Urbane Chaos and also emphasize the point about asking the rights holder for permission, in advance of publishing the material in your work.

  2. Mark Ewbie profile image84
    Mark Ewbieposted 5 years ago

    Maybe he's just trying it on.

    1. Sally's Trove profile image99
      Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I don't think so, Mark. I think he meant for his work to be protected in exactly this way...if you're going to make money from it, then so am I.

  3. Urbane Chaos profile image90
    Urbane Chaosposted 5 years ago

    If you were using the photo for commercial purposes, and the author clearly labeled the picture for non-commercial use, then they are entitled to something.  That's just the way the law is.

    ...however, I can't see the guy actually doing anything about it - the cost to pursue their claim would be a lot more than they would get.  Even if it did go to court, I doubt that he would be awarded that much, especially if you haven't made anything from it.

    Still, always double check first.  If in doubt, ask the author.  Most of the time they won't have a problem with letting you use their picture.

    Good luck with this!

  4. Aficionada profile image93
    Aficionadaposted 5 years ago

    This sounds like a sort of a nightmare, and I hope it works out well for you, habee! I'm sure a lot of the rest of us will be following this to see what happens.

    As for the meaning of "non-commercial" on HP, the Help Center has this article - http://hubpages.com/learningcenter/legal-image-use - which says that our Hubs are non-commercial if the ads are turned off.

    I toyed with the idea that you could offer the photographer whatever amount of money had actually been earned by the Hub while the photo was still on it.  But as I thought about that idea more, I nixed it.  The thing is, in the business world (and elsewhere too), a misuse of photos, text, trademarks, and all kinds of intellectual property (even when done innocently or from a lack of knowledge) could actually require financial penalties above and beyond any gain that came from using them.  I think Urbane Chaos is correct in saying that it would be hard for the photog to collect - but do you want to have to go through the hassle, whatever hassle it is?

    I'm hoping some of the law-trained Hubbers will offer their thoughts.  I know that it's tricky for them to offer opinions, because that could open them up to legal action!!!  If you need some names, I know of a couple I can send you by private message.

    I think that if I were in your place, I might offer the person the amount earned on the Hub, point out the free publicity they have received, and even ask if they would negotiate a lower price.  But, in the end, I would steel myself for the possibility that I might have to pay the amount if there was no way around it.

    1. Sally's Trove profile image99
      Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I would not make any offer of payment; to do that would be an admission of wrong-doing.

      I'm glad you have legal resources Habee can contact.

      1. Aficionada profile image93
        Aficionadaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I understand your concern, but both you and UC have mentioned that it was not non-commercial use - that is, if we have read habee's post correctly.  In other words, yes, she unwittingly did wrong.

        In my post, I definitely speeded up my description of the process I would follow, certainly more than I would in reality, which would start off with a combination of Brian's apology and a strong emphasis on the fact that I did not realize that what I was doing constituted commercial use.  But the bottom line for me is the question of how much time and hassle I would be willing to give to this; how much that time and hassle is worth to me; and what sort of negotiating could bring about a positive outcome for everyone involved.

      2. Urbane Chaos profile image90
        Urbane Chaosposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I'm glad you said that.. it made me think of something that I went through before. 

        A few years ago I was sued for breach of contract on a job that I was on - which I counter-sued and won, but that's not the issue.. I had posted on a forum asking for advice and somehow they found it and tried to use it against me.  The point is, I would be careful about what you say online.  If you admit you were wrong in using the picture, they could potentially use that against you.  If they did that, case over.. Just be careful and always read the fine print.

        1. Sally's Trove profile image99
          Sally's Troveposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          Your experience is well worth listening to. No matter what you say, no matter how innocently, it can be twisted to be used against you when the stakes are high.

          1. Aficionada profile image93
            Aficionadaposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            Good points.  The experiences I have had with having to pay for licensed material had lower stakes and a different outcome.

            I have been busy in a different forum thread and didn't see these last posts until just now.  If you all feel that my previous responses needs to be adjusted somewhat, in view of your and UC's post, please let me know.  In fact, I would be more than willing simply to delete them.

  5. WriteAngled profile image90
    WriteAngledposted 5 years ago

    If I, as owner of a photo I had released under those terms, found it being used here, I would certainly assume it was being used for commercial purposes. The HP home page, the forums and many hubs all make it clear that making money is prime aim of the site owners and most of the users.

    Even without a direct attempt to sell products via Amazon/eBay capsules or affiliate links, the mere fact that the hub displays ads would in my mind make it commercial.

    If you had ads turned off, you need to check whether this also stops HP displaying ads during their 40% of views. If yes, then you could argue the hub was totally non-commercial. If no, then I suggest you advise the photographer to continue pursuing his claim with HP.

    However, I agree with what was said above. It is unlikely to be worth anyone's while to pursue a claim at this level.

  6. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 5 years ago

    Thanks for all the input. The photographer and I have come to an agreement. Once he realized it was an honest mistake on my part, he was actually very nice. He requested that I write a hub about the use of creative commons photos, so I'm going to.

    1. Urbane Chaos profile image90
      Urbane Chaosposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I'm glad to hear that!  I've met very few photographers that really have an issue with things.  Usually they love the extra promotion and are extremely grateful that you linked back to the in the first place.

      The internet being as it is, most people just use photos however they want, without regard to the person who created them - same way with text.  If someone quotes me and gives me an extra backlink, I'm more than happy to let them do so.  I'm glad all of this turned out well for you!

  7. Aficionada profile image93
    Aficionadaposted 5 years ago

    What a relief!  Congratulations on a good outcome!

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this


  8. Kangaroo_Jase profile image80
    Kangaroo_Jaseposted 5 years ago


    Please to see you and the photographer came to a mutual agreement on this.

    You would have had the backup of lots of Hubbers here as well who would have supported you with your intention of the photo.

    All is well that ends well smile

    1. habee profile image90
      habeeposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks a bunch, Jase!

  9. earner profile image85
    earnerposted 5 years ago

    I used to run a worldwide digital microstock agency of huge repute... and our definition of "non commercial use" would allow the images to be used here because the image is not being used commercially.... it's the words/article that are commercial.

    Under "non commercial use" we'd also allow somebody to use an image as a book cover.  It's not the cover that's commercial, it's the words/content of the book.

    For T shirts though, the image is the essential ingredient people are buying, so an image on a T shirt IS commercial use.

    The trouble is: any explanation/description by any site as to what's right/wrong is so far up its confusing/legal 4rse that you've no idea what you just read.

    They should keep it simple, spell it out.

  10. habee profile image90
    habeeposted 5 years ago

    Earner, obviously, I was thinking along the same lines.