Monday, September 1, 2008

please do not visit boorah....[updated]

so this was an odd shock for me.

i found out that boorah (a restaurant review site based in mountain view, ca) was streaming some of my pictures from flickr. nevermind that i have "all rights reserved" on my pictures and have had them tagged as such since i joined flickr...but there they were......my pics.....on this commercial web site.

it was a bit jarring and to be frank, i was/am pretty pissed off.

i, of course, contacted boorah and asked them to take the pictures down immediately. they responded very quickly and assured me that they will not use my pictures again. yet, it does make one wonder doesn't it? how many other pictures from flickr are they using without the proper permission?

does this statement:

"BooRah doesn't actually have these photos stored on its servers. As described on the photos page, it's merely showing photos off a search on flickr."

mean that they think they don't have to ensure that the pictures they use do not have "all rights reserved"?

i have worked for three large publishers .....and let me tell you that intellectual property rights just don't work that way. that is like google...who decided that they were going to scan all of these books in these major libraries and have these entire works available...without asking permission of those that held the intellectual rights. if i remember correctly, google had to back off from doing entire works....i mean, it is ok if the works are in public domain...and it is ok if you obtain an agreement between google and the publishers/authors that hold the rights... but who thought it would be ok to make a bunch of content available online just because it was in a library? flickr is like a library. some folks provide rights under "Creative Commons" which is fine...and some, like myself, have "all rights reserved". there is a big difference.

it appears to be the same mentality of some of these web sites......a mentality that it is ok to stream content from other repository/library-like websites and try to absolve themselves from responsibility and from ensuring that they have the rights to do so.

what's up with that?

i bet they would be super pissed off if they saw their content on another site and the other site tried the disclaimer with "well, we just did a search on google and created a feed from your site to ours".

if i had done something like these web sites when i was an editor in the content business, i know that the lawyers would have cheerfully staked me. not only would i have been a freaking HUGE legal liability, i would have, more importantly, betrayed my authors. trust like that...once violated....is very difficult to regain.

this is not the first time this i've seen my pics show up on other sites. i'm seriously thinking about taking down my flickr site. i think it is really nice to be able to meet people and share pictures...but i don't think it is too great when commercial entities seek to use intellectual property for profit without the proper permissions in place. i even think pictures of restaurants are a fine line...which is a reason why i take no ads.

and don't give me this crap about "it was a mistake" (which neither boorah or other sites have said btw)... should have done your due diligence ahead of time or else don't get into the content business.

can you tell that i'm seriously pissed off?

UPDATE....

9/2/09: boorah indicated that they have now fixed the problem and only pictures under the creative commons show up on the site. i type these words with difficulty, as i am still pissed off, but it is only out of a sense of fairness that i'm providing this update.


1 comment:

AshleyShea said...

I can understand your anger. I haven't had my work taken by a commercial site, but I have had it taken by individuals and posted all over the web. It bothers me that people on the internet have know clue that they are breaking copyright. If you try to explain it to them, they come back with, "I wasn't using it for financial gain, so it's ok." NO, it's NOT ok to take someone's photos or art or words and distribute them all over the net. So I do my best to educate and to avoid websites that do not enforce a policy that all things posted must be owned by the one who made the post.