One moment, Alison Chang, a 15-year-old student from Dallas, is cheerfully goofing around at a local church-sponsored car wash, posing with a friend for a photo. Weeks later, that photo is posted online and catches the eye of an ad agency in Australia, and Alison appears on a billboard in Adelaide as part of a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign.
At the time, I read about it on Gillian’s blog—one of her photos was used in the ad campaign. As the article points out, the issue isn’t so much about the Creative Commons licensing, but about securing model releases for humans featured in the ads.
Gillian points out that it would’ve been nice if somebody from Virgin had contacted her, just to say “hey, we’re using your photo on bus shelters”. I suspect that most photographers would be flattered to hear that.
Chang and the person who took her photo, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, have filed a lawsuit against Virgin. Rather stupidly, they’ve named Creative Commons in the legal action. They claim that Ã¢â‚¬Å“as the creator of this new license, they have an obligation to define it succinctly.Ã¢â‚¬Â Er no, there are already laws governing commercial use–I think that’s outside of the ground that CC licensing covers. Lawrence Lessig says as much in the Times article.