User Copyright And Public APIs

Those who read photography blogs may have already come across the dustup, but the discussion over [ab]use of the Flickr API and application developers not respecting copyright on content should be of interest to the web developers out there as well.

The discussion centers around the realization that last weekend Every Flickr Photo Ended Up on Sale as cell phone wallpaper at — regardless of what copyright terms were designated on the photos — including All Rights Reserved and Creative Commons Non-Commercial flags. After complaints the store quickly shut down its Flickr integration, but its not the only usage of images that bothers some photographers.

As with all publishing on the web there’s a balance that both individual copyright holders need to think about and realization that if you publish it the bits /will/ be out there for people to take. There is a similar balance that those building web sites and other tools need to consider between ease of use and ability to protect the integrity of their systems and users. The interesting part of the current discussion is that there are so many ‘end users’ participating and those people not commonly thought of when considering and designing APIs.

More discussion at Thomas Hawk’s blog

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