Creative Commons has teeth

Regular listeners to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast will be familiar with the lawsuit Curry filed against a Dutch tabloid concerning family photos Curry had posted to Flickr under a Creative Commons license. The tabloid published some of these photos without permission in a story about Curry’s children.

Curry’s lawsuit was about breach of copyright and privacy infringement. In a judgment delivered on 9 March, Curry’s claim for breach of copyright was upheld (although the privacy infringement part was not).

In a press release on 16 March, Creative Commons said this is the first known court decision involving a Creative Commons license:

“We are very happy with this decision as it demonstrates that the millions of creators who use creative commons licenses are effectively protected against abuses of their willingness to contribute to the commons,” said Paul Keller, Public Project Lead for Creative Commons in the Netherlands.

“This decision confirms that the Creative Commons licensing system is an effective way for content creators to manage their copyrights online,” said Lawrence Lessig, Creative Commons CEO & Chairman, “The decision should also serve as a timely reminder to those seeking to use content online, to respect the terms that apply to that content.”

Curry is less than impressed with the Dutch judge who delivered the judgment or, it seems, with Creative Commons. You can hear a sobering 30-minute commentary by Curry about this whole issue in DSC 351.

Still, it’s a landmark legal ruling for the credibility of Creative Commons.

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