Not For Commercial Use… What does that mean??

by Bruce Brown | 0 comment

As content and services have become more and more valuable, copyright and Terms of Use issues have began to crop up more and more on the web. 

Recently, I was on Kathryn's Photos on Flickr and read her blog entry regarding how TicketMaster had used one of her photos without her consent for commercial purposes.  She indicates on each of her pictures the rights she has given to those wishing to use her pictures.  She does this via Creative Commons.  Common Creatives is another copyright website that assists content creators of all kinds on the Internet to protect their work.  Since TicketMaster broke her copyright restrictions, they have clearly put themselves in the way of legal action.  This is the stuff that lawsuits are made of.  Is this a petty law suit?  Not in my personal oppinion.  I think, if Kathryn does take legal action, it will be a wake up call for not only commercial businesses but for creators of content as well.

Thomas Hawk of FlickrNation raises and interesting discussion about using Flickr photos on “Personal Sites” that monetize with Google Adsense when the Flickr Terms Of Use clearly state that commercial use of Flickr photos is prohibited. 

Terms of Use are especially important for companies who have useful services and/or products that can be supplemented by application program interface (APIs) created by other developers.  The company providing the services want to give its customers more functionality by allowing their more technically skilled customers to create application plugin to enhance or add new features, but not at the expense of loosing profit or loosing basic usability., Google, Flickr and many others allow independent developers to create such software but each has its own specific rules and restrictions in order to protect their services and ensure that they are not abused. 

Any developer, fledgling business or customer should read and research the Terms of Use/Copyright of the source that they intend to use thoroughly.  “Commercial Use” can only be determined by the owner of the product/content/service.  While some commercial use is cut and dry (i.e. selling t-shirts, webhosting services, etc) some creators of content might consider Google Adsense or YPN commercial.  It is up to the owners discretions and they are well within their rights to protect the product/service that they have devoted time/money/attention/energy to create.


Converstations about Commercial Use of Content:

FlickrNation on Using Picts on Personal Sites with Adsense

Flickr Dev. Forum on what is commercial use

Richard Stallman's Philosophy

Flickr: Artists vs. API developers –> I love this debate. 



Tools to protect against Copyright infringement: is sort of search engine that locates pages on the web with duplications of your work (only text content).

Creative Commons is a great site that creates certificates indicating chosen restrictions you impose for those who wish to republish your work.


Good Resources:

What is Copyright?

Copyright vs. Community

Canadian Copyright…eh

Stanford on Copyright


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