flickr to use in a major billboard promotion here in Sydney, Australia.
The photo on the left side has a creative commons 2.0 attribution licence. Which means:
Virgin Mobile is free
- to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- to Remix — to adapt the work
But that they must
- attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
While the photographer presumably doesn't care that virgin mobile is using his photo. I think that Virgin is using the photo that suggests an endorsement by the photographer.
The other problem with this advert is the fact that you can see the model's face. Is there a model release for this photo? How do we know that the model doesn't hate Virgin Mobile. How do we know that the model is ok with being the butt of a masturbation joke? If I were the model I would probably sue Virgin Mobile for using my likeness in a advertisement. One thing companies have to remember is that just because the photographer gives or even sells you a photo doesn't give you the right to use the person in the photo to advertise your stuff.
The photo on the right has a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 licence. This means Virgin can
-copy, distribute and transmit the work as well as adapt the work.
-They must however attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). not use this work for commercial purposes.
-If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence to this one.
So Virgin is blatantly breaking the licence on this second fact, not to mention the fact that there is likely no model release for the person in the photo. Another thing is the whole "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar licence to this one." thing. They put their company logo on the resulting work. Are we to believe that Virgin Mobile is licensing their logo under the creative commons? I doubt it.
This seems to me like a lawsuit waiting to happen. I find myself hoping that one day I'll be riding the subway somewhere and see a billboard of myself so that I can get a $15.6 million settlement.
These aren't the only photos Virgin Mobile has used without proper authorisation, just the two closest to me before I got onto the train.