Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir and Flickr

Have been reading about Flickr's inaction in a copyright theft matter for a few days now (Rebekka's wonderful photos here). The BBC picked up the story.

Yahoo 'censored' Flickr comments
Yahoo is accused of censorship on photo site Flickr in a row over an online gallery selling pictures.

Late last year photographer Rebekka Gudleifsdóttir discovered that eight of her pictures were reportedly being sold by a UK-based online gallery.

She raised the issue on Flickr but a photo and comments were deleted.

Yahoo, which had no involvement in the row over the sale of the photos, has now apologized for its “mistake”.

According to Ms Gudleifsdóttir, online gallery Only Dreemin sold 60 prints of eight of her photos, for more than £2,500, without her consent.

No-one from gallery Only Dreemin was available for comment.

Ms Gudleifsdóttir owns the copyright to all of her photos on Flickr and the website clearly states that people cannot use them without permission.

The photographer herself writes:

Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir » Blog Archive » official apology from Flickr founder
The flickr community is a very special thing, and im not going to let a bad move on the part of the people who run flickr , cause me to abandon it. Flickr has had a very positive impact on my life and my carreer as a photographer, and im quite attatched to it.
I don’t feel flickr should be held accountable for the fact that someone downloaded my photos from there for commercial use. I have been aware since day one that this is a risk of displaying your work online, and although i believed i had covered my ass by uploading my photos at 72dpi, 1200×800 pixels, this clearly IS large enough to use for making large prints. Presumably with the help of software that can convert small jpg’s into large tiff files.
Something i was not aware of before.
In light of what has happened, i have decided to limit the dimensions of my uploads to a maximum of 800 pixels across, instead of 1200.

however, just because i was aware of the RISK, does not mean i was ready to accept the fact that someone had indeed been selling prints of my work for thousands of dollars. That is a whole different matter entirely.
Just walking around in an urban area at night may put you in risk of being mugged or raped. People are aware of this risk. That doesn’t mean its their fault if they are indeed mugged or raped, and if the person who commits such a crime is known and openly admits to having done it, would anyone in their right mind tell the victim “see, they’re sorry, just move on and forget about it”

Stewart Butterfield one of Flickr's founders, issues a mea culpa:

this time, we made the wrong choice. The person who made the call is not, as has been suggested, stupid, incompetent, underpaid, under qualified, inexperienced or mean. They just made a big mistake (and feel inconsolably awful about it, by the way). We also did not have the right policies in place to prevent it from happening or rectifying it afterward. And that's entirely the responsibility of the Flickr leadership team, and myself in particular.

So, to Rebekka: Our apologies. I'm sure you did not intend to bring on the firestorm to the extent it developed, you were not in the wrong and it was our fault to suggest that you were. (I will write to her directly as well).

We're taking our well-deserved lumps on this one, but have learned a painful lesson and are doubly committed to being better stewards of this wonderful thing called Flickr. Thank you for bearing with us and we're sorry.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on May 21, 2007 8:18 AM.

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