As photographers in the digital age many of us are torn between getting our images noticed in an ever increasing pool of images, or protecting our images to prevent any potential unauthorized use. I’ve tended towards the former by publishing many of my images on sites such as Google + and Flickr while attaching a creative commons license that allows non-commercial use with attribution. Up until last week I hadn’t come upon a situation that caused me any extra thought on the matter.
Last Friday I was cruising through my Flickr stream and noticed that a random image from my 2012 project 365 had received an inordinate amount of views (about 400, which is more than 2x the total before that). I dug a bit more into the stats and saw that all the views were coming from this page, which was a bit surprising. Looking at the article it seems that every image they use is from Flickr. If you scroll down to # 4 on the list you will see Sandy Springs Georgia, which happens to be the part of town that my office is located. The image of mine that they used is of the “King and Queen” buildings, which look like giant chess pieces. Here’s the image:
The image is nothing special, just something I captured on my way home from work one Summer day in my quest to keep the project 365 going.
Here’s where I have a question. If you scroll down the page on Flickr with my image you will see that is licensed under Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial. My question is if the use of my image in a Kiplinger online article qualifies as “non-commercial”? My initial thought is that the use of my image is in violation of the copyright I attached to it because it is on a commercial site. If that’s the case, do I have a rightful claim for unauthorized use?
It’s an interesting situation, and the first time I’ve encountered it with my own images. My initial inclination is to do nothing. The image has no real redeeming value from an artistic standpoint and it’s not like the Kiplinger article is going to be something that goes viral. But, If I were so inclined, could I contact Kiplinger and demand compensation?
What are your thoughts on this? Do I have a case or not? I’m interested in hearing your thoughs.