[cc-community] Creative Commons and privacy rights

Evan Prodromou evan at wikitravel.org
Sat Sep 18 17:46:39 EDT 2004

James Grimmelmann wrote:

>> I'd assume that licensors are still accountable for the privacy rights of
>> works' subjects, and shouldn't release images of people for which they 
>> don't
>> have model releases.
>> What about redistributors or makers of derivative works? As far as I can
>> tell, there's really no way for them to be sure that a work doesn't 
>> violate
>> someone's privacy, unless they have some kind of documentation from the
>> original author.
> And so on and so on.  There are tons of ways you can open yourself up to 
> a lawsuit whenever you open your mouth or make a creative work.  Across 
> the board, the 2.0 licenses say that this is strictly a matter between 
> you and the person who might sue you: there is no warranty from the 
> licensor that the work is "safe" from any of these torts.  Privacy is 
> just another example of the general pattern.

I find this all kind of interesting, but from a practical level it really sucks. 
I mean, when I find a CC-licensed photo of a human being on Common Content (for 
example), do I have to trace down the identity of that person, get some kind of 
contact information, and make an additional agreement with them to publish the 

I don't know really a whole bunch about the business of photography, but for 
some reason I find that kind of hard to believe. It seems like a lot of 
photographers sell and re-sell portraits and other photos to magazines, books, 
or whatever. Does each publisher have to contact the model and make a separate 
agreement? Or does the permission granted by the model to the photographer 
transfer at all to the publisher?

If it does, could that same framework be applicable to a Creative 
Commons-licensed work? If the model gives the photographer permission to sell a 
photo of them to anyone for any reason, could they also give them permission to 
give the photo away to anyone?


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