IX. Are there easier alternatives than copyright?
If you’ve read every section up to this point, you’ll see that this is a lot of hard work to keep track of. That’s why some people just give up
Some persons and organizations hope to make the rules about using and reusing work more user-friendly. These groups may make their work freely available under Creative Commons licenses
or expressly abandon them into the public domain.
But just because an author employs either of these copyright alternatives, that doesn’t mean that they are completely free of legal issues. For example, imagine you’re an advertising designer for Virgin Mobile, and you need a photo of a pretty teenage girl for your latest ad. You find a photo on Flickr that is free to use under a Creative Commons Attribution license. You use the photo in your ad campaign and plaster the photo on bus stops across Australia. This is exactly what happened
, and since the photographer was adequately credited and copyright issues were non-existent everybody lived happily ever after, right?
Not so fast… When the parents of the little girl found the photo being used in advertising, they weren’t very happy and sued Virgin for defamation (libel) and invasion of privacy (a right of publicity tort). The family also took offense to the ad’s text caption, “Dump Your Pen Friend,” which they perceived as a thinly veiled dig at her race, and “Free Text Virgin to Virgin,” which they argued made certain assumptions about her sexual activities (or lack thereof).
If you have any questions about alternatives to the standard copyright scheme or how these alternatives are being utilized by thousands of artists every day, feel free to contact New Media Rights at (619) 591-8870
for free, pro bono legal assistance.
Frequently asked questions about alternatives to traditional copyright law