Creative Creative Commons Creation
April 1, 2006 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Schmap is an online/desktop travel guidebook. They are taking Creative Commons licensed photos from Flickr and using them in their city guides. It is kind of like Google Maps + Flickr + Lonely Planet. [Contains some flash, and to try out the guide you have to install the Schmap Player.]
posted by pithy comment (10 comments total)
APRI---oh, fuck it.
posted by sourwookie at 12:42 PM on April 1, 2006

you forgot + Windows
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:18 PM on April 1, 2006

No, they're taking photos on Flickr that explicitly forbid commercial reuse, provisionally placing them in what seems to me to be a blatantly commercial project, and forcing the owners of those photos to opt out. It's presumptuous, and more than a little sleazy.

I'm tempted to sic Our Lessig on them.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2006

Grotesque. I hate the Internet.
posted by gum at 8:35 PM on April 1, 2006

They contacted me and I gave them permission. For me, it's not a big deal because they asked me. Had they not asked, I'd be in a tizzy, but they did.
posted by travosaurus at 7:05 AM on April 2, 2006

travosaurus, it's not whether they asked or not, or even if they asked nicely. (For the record, they did.)

It's that their usage of images quite clearly falls outside the scope of any usage permitted by the license. They are a commercial operation, they themselves have quite restrictive usage covenants in their terms and conditions (violating the Share-Alike provisions of the CC license), and by their precipitate action they've put the onus on you-the-photographer to ensure that the rights enumerated in the license be observed.

It's disingenuous, and it's wrong.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:23 AM on April 2, 2006

Share-alike isn't a provision of all CC licenses and authors with CC-by-sa licenses are still allowed to negotiate specific arrangements at their discretion which may or may not be licensed Creative Commons style. Similarly, the non-commerical restriction is only applicable for certain CC licenses and can be loosened on a case by case basis.

What it comes down to is whether or not Schmap is really using CC-nc photos "provisionally", that is without the prior permission of the author. It's my understanding that they're playing by the rules and asking for permission. If so, then this is exactly what flickr, photo sharing sites and Creative Commons was designed for and exactly why I enjoy participating: photo sharing.

Has anyone documented a case of a photo used contrary to the terms of its license without an explicit exemption from the author?
posted by stuart_s at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2006

stuart_s, I think you're missing a very important point here.

I'm going to speak from my own experience, because I obviously can't speak for others. The first thing I ever heard about Schmap was when I got mail from them "congratulating" me that my pictures had been selected for their guide and asking that I go to their site to opt out should I not want this to happen.

This, when it says "noncommercial" right there in the license. It doesn't matter one whit to me whether or not they compound the offense by actually using the picture, provisionally or otherwise, when as far as I'm concerned the burden is on them to acquaint themselves with the terms under which I share my images.

Should they actually have had a good-faith interest in negotiating some usage outside the clear conditions of the CC license, then the appropriate way to communicate that desire is with a request, not an announcement.

I'm not necessarily saying that Schmap are bad people, but their behavior in this instance has left a bad taste in my mouth. It sure doesn't feel - to me, anyway - like anything CC was set up to enable.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:17 PM on April 2, 2006

Hi, I’m Ali Moss, Managing Editor at Schmap. I thought I’d post here to answer a question raised above, namely whether or not Schmap publishes photos provisionally and waits for photographers to withdraw them from our guides.

I am happy to reassure those reading this post that the web pages to which Adam and other short-listed photographers are clicking through at this time are not public on our site; rather they allow photographers to submit or withdraw their short-listed photos from our final selection phase BEFORE the guide is actually released.

As an aside for those who enjoy stats, the following summary (regarding photos for our scheduled first 28 Schmap Guides) might be of interest…

a) For our scheduled first 28 guides, we reviewed some 448,000 photos, short-listing 7,790 of these (1.7%) to continue to our final selection phase.

b) A total of 1,949 short-listed photographers had specified a Creative Commons non-commercial license. These are the photographers we’ve contacted to see whether or not they would like to submit or withdraw their photos from our final selection phase.

c) Of these 1,949 photographers, 1,534 (78.7%) chose to submit one or more of their short-listed photos; 117 (6.0%) chose to withdraw all their photos from our final selection phase, while 298 (15.3%) made no decision (in which case, their photos would likewise not be considered for guide inclusion).

The first 10 Schmap Guides (San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Las Vegas, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Dublin, Vienna) are already available for free download. Should anyone reading this have time to look at one of these, we’d love for you to give us your feedback – whether sharing ideas for content and functionality, reporting bugs in our beta-release Schmap Player, or simply passing on your praise or criticism…

(Schmap Guides will unfortunately not be Mac-compatible until the second half of this year – we’ll post a firm date in our FAQ toward the end of this month).
posted by schmap at 1:43 AM on April 3, 2006

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