Tag Archives: censorship

“Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

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What follow is a transcription of a talk called “Are You Worthy – Publishing from Greeks to Geeks” at Wordcamp Whistler in 2009. Video and audio exists, as does a “round-up” of photos, tweets, artifacts, and so on. See “Consider Perusing” below.

Speaker: We really hoped you enjoyed today and I think you’re going to enjoy this last session.  I’ve been looking forward to it since we started planning this.  So with that I’m going to turn over to Dave Olson, he’s going to ask you, “Are you Worthy?”     

Dave: So, it’s the end of the day, my brain is a little stretched — a lot of input, a lot of stuff.  So, if you feel a little antsy, because frankly taking notes — I don’t know if I’m going to say anything that’s really worth taking notes.  

I’m just putting this out there, if you want to come and sit down here or you want to pull your chair over, I’m an old hippie, so I was on dead tour.  It’s all right you can come and sit down if you want.  No big deal by the way.   I’ll give you a moment to do that.  

My ulterior motive for asking you to do that is that I didn’t bring anything to put on the projector.  But I have lots of little odds and ends here.  So, you’ll get a better view if you come and sit up front.  That’s the way I like it — special shout-out to the ladies right back there.       

I almost said I didn’t make any slides but I did make two slides here because people are always telling me that, “Dave, we really like your presentations, but damn it, would you give us a bulleted list?”  

Continue reading “Are You Worthy / Greeks to Geeks” talk transcription (Wordcamp Whistler, 2009)

Thomas Hawk >> An Update on the International Olympic Committee’s Threatening Letter to Flickr User Richard Giles

An Update on the International Olympic Committee’s Threatening Letter to Flickr User Richard Giles

NOTE: Shared here in full as part of archive of articles related to Olympics and social media as per True North Media House project. 

Beijing Olympics: Usain Bolt Breaks The World Record (Men's 100 Meters)
Usain Bolt Image by Richard Giles, used under a Creative Commons license.

Earlier this week I blogged about a threatening cease and desist letter that Australian photographer Richard Giles received from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The letter had objected to Giles’ “distribution and licensing” of Olympic photos in his Flickrstream.

 

Among other things, the IOC noted that “any reproduction and distribution of images of the Olympic Games and IOC identifications by any means, including over the World Wide Web, without the consent of the IOC is unauthorized.” They further claimed ownership over the Olympic rings and actually over the word “Olympics,” itself. Perhaps most offensive to me personally, the IOC had written in their heavy handed letter to Giles that any images of the Olympic Games actually “belonged” to the IOC.

The letter was signed by Howard M. Strupp, the IOC’s Director of Legal Affairs and suggested that Giles needed to conform with their requests (which were a bit vague) by October 8th. Rather than remove or relicense his images on Flickr, Giles instead posted his letter to his Flickrstream. It was first picked up by Duncan Riley over at the Inquisitr. I blogged about it. Boing Boing picked it up.TechDirt blogged about it. It started going viral. Giles also got in contact with both Electronic Frontiers Australia and Creative Commons Australia to try and figure out what his best course of action might be.

From the tone of the original heavy handed letter, it initially sounded like the IOC was actually objecting to Olympic imagery appearing on Flickr at all, having cited the images as unauthorized and saying that the images belonged to them (contrary to U.S. copyright law at least).

The IOC after receiving a bit of heat from the web though quickly back pedaled and clarified that their position was not that they wanted Giles to remove his photos from Flickr, but rather they wanted him to relicense his image from Creative Commons to all rights reserved.

After writing in to the IOC I was contacted myself by Mark Adams at the IOC who clarified that position and Giles was also contacted by the IOC with this information as well. To their credit, I found Adams very professional in his email correspondence with me. Adams told me that the the main objection that they had was that Giles’ image had been used for a major commercial book promotion in London. On his blog Giles confirmed that his image had been used (without any compensation to him) as an advertisement at a book store in London in conjunction with the launch of the 2010 Guiness Book of World Records.

Giles has a much more detailed post describing most of the above and much more information about his case here.

As of tonight, the issue is still not entirely resolved. Although the IOC seems much more diplomatic at this point than they did in the harsh C&D letter that they originally sent Giles, they still seem to be insisting that he change the license on his photos to all rights reserved.

Giles, on the other hand, would like to retain a Creative Commons non-commercial license on his photos. All of his Olympic photos are licensed CC non-commercial as it stands now, with the exception of the Usain Bolt photo (the same photo used by the bookstore in London) that is licensed just regular CC. Giles had removed the non-commercial restriction on this license originally at the bequest of wikipedia so that they could include the image on their site.

To me Giles’ position to retain his CC non-commercial license on his images makes perfect sense. I think he should not cave in to the IOC and change his Olympic photos to “all rights reserved.” The Creative Commons non-commercial license is perfectly suitable to protect the IOC against unauthorized commercial use as the non-commercial portion of CC would prohibit this. If the IOC is going to insist on Giles making this change, this move would worry me for a number of reasons.

First, the CC license (despite the fact that Flickr allows you to change back to all rights reserved) technically cannot be revoked. it is an irrevocable license. From Creative Commons:

“Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work.”

Further, it seems like an uphill battle to me for the IOC to go after this popular license. At present there are almost 140,000 images licensed as CC images on Flickr for the search term “Olympics.” While admittedly, many of these images are not of the Olympic games, when you restrict a CC search to “Olympics” and “China” you still get almost 20,000 CC images. Many of them of very high caliber, professional type images of the games.

Even if the IOC gets Giles to relicense his photos, this does nothing to stop other people from using these other images. Unless the IOC is prepared to play a lengthy game of whack-a-mole, this problem is only going to reappear again and again.

Especially in light of the fact that social media is more popular than ever, future Olympic Games will only mean a far greater number of CC Olympic Images make their way online. And we haven’t even gotten into all of the CC Olympic images available at other places like wikipedia — for example, this image of sprinter Michael Johnson from the 2000 games in Sydney.

Rather than try and fight the CC license, the IOC should take a deep breath, relax and learn to accept it. The liberal nature of the CC license means that images of the games receive even greater distribution. This is the best free PR that money can’t buy.

Trying to stomp out every single photographer with a CC license will only backfire against the IOC. Can they hunker down and take an RIAA approach to images of the games? Sure they can. But if they do, they ought to expect the same sort of hatred that is shelled out to the RIAA when they go about threatening photographers the way the RIAA threatens grandmothers.

Might the IOC miss out on a few dollars here and there because some publisher chooses to go with a free CC image rather than try and license one from them? Sure. But it’s a small price to pay to ensure the goodwill of photographers and fans all over the planet.

The Olympics belong to all of us — to the fans, to the athletes, to every person on the planet, and yes, this even includes photographers like Richard Giles. I think the IOC has taken a good first step to try and diffuse this messy PR case that they’ve made for themselves. They should take the next logical step and tell Richard Giles that they’ve rethought his situation and are willing to accept a CC non-commercial license.

Continue reading Thomas Hawk >> An Update on the International Olympic Committee’s Threatening Letter to Flickr User Richard Giles

Excerpts from the War on Sanity (featuring Hypocritical Cop on Cop action!)

Releases › LEAP Becomes Latest Victim of Government Censorship

DATELINE: 8.26.2008

Arlington: Virginia – Retired police detective, Howard Wooldridge, representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) was ousted from the National Asian Peace Officers Association (NAPOA) Conference in Crystal City because he was representing a view contrary U.S. government policy.

LEAP is a 10,000-member organization of police, judges, prosecutors, DEA & FBI agents, and others who know ending drug prohibition will reduce death, disease, crime, and addiction, while saving billions of our tax dollars each year.

On Tuesday (8.26.2008) acting under pressure from unnamed federal officials, Reagan Fong, President of the NAPOA, insisted on the immediate removal of LEAP from the conference vendor roster. It appears that some of the event’s other exhibitors took exception to the LEAP message and put pressure on the event organizer to expel LEAP from the event. While the incident was civil and took place prior to the second day’s session it represents a serious violation of Constitutional rights as cited within the First Amendment.

Federal agency representatives manning booths at the conference included DEA, Federal Air Marshals, NCIS, and Coast Guard. The prior day LEAP’s spokesperson had visited the DEA booth and described the agent as “decidedly unhappy” with an opposing viewpoint. In sharp contrast at 37 national and international law enforcement Conferences where LEAP has been allowed to exhibit, 80% of booth visitors agreed with LEAP’s stance for ending this failed drug war.

As for the Crystal City NAPOA incident, the appearance of impropriety is almost as bad as the real thing. LEAP has attempted to establish contact with Mr. Fong, NAPOA President, to confirm the details of the incident but we have received no response so we can only conclude it is blatant censorship originating from a judgmental “Big Brother” mentality. LEAP believes that this group owes us an apology. We ask that Mr. Fong identify the individual, agency or group that lobbied for our eviction from the event.

If this was an independent effort then he or she was acting outside the scope of authority and should receive administrative punishment for unprofessional actions. If this action was sanctioned by upper level management then the managers need to explain their behavior in an open forum. If this was sanctioned official action by the U.S. Government it is a serious matter which requires serious and immediate attention.

Terry L. Nelson 817-573-6927
Jack A. Cole 617-792-3877
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.