A deep dive into the world of copyleft trolling and Creative Commons license abuse. I was unsurprised to see that automated systems are being used to target people with extortion rackets (similar to the old copyright trolling takes that seek damages via threats) but the honeypot schemes – photos being uploaded under CC licenses and then pinged for minor infringement – is a particular kind of vile.
The short answer is: only use images or material under CC 4.0 licenses, and if you share content under CC licenses update them to 4.0 ASAP. Really good to see Flickr are working on systems to make that as painless as possible 🙌
On how CC licenses can be abused:
The original version of the CC license stated that the license would “terminate automatically upon any breach.” That meant that if you failed to live up to the license terms in any substantial way, you were no longer a licensed user of the copyrighted work. Any uses you had made of that work were no longer permitted under the license, so unless you had another basis for using it (for example, if your use qualified as “fair use”), then you were now infringing copyright.
On the inherent evils of copyleft disputes:
The point of Creative Commons is to allow copyright holders to exercise their copyrights — specifically, to exercise their copyrights in a way that facilitates sharing and re-use. If you are a lawyer who responds to minor CC license errors with legal threats instead of requests for correction, then you are a predator in violation of your own code of professional ethics and you should be shunned by your peers for bringing the law into disrepute.
Shame on you.