It was a rather innocuous moment.
I was on Skype with My American and, in a flash of crazy, we started a Google search for Maremma sheepdogs.
Which ones look like Shep? Aw, wookadawiddle puppies of fluff!
Hey, wait a second … that one does look like Shep. A lot like Shep. Um, because it is Shep.
It must be one of my links, I thought, and clicked through. Nope. It was the Pinterest board for an American security company. And so I clicked through to the link they had attached to the Pin.
To my shock, I saw a cluster of three pictures of my boy, another on the landing page for a feature about flock guardian dogs.
The only place I can remember posting those pictures is Flickr. I don’t remember a message requesting use of the photos and there was no credit to my Flickr account on the website.
I was sure, I thought, I had my Flickr account set to All Rights Reserved. I checked.
I fired off an email as polite as I could muster.
I figured this small-time Canadian entrepreneur wouldn’t hear back from some big-time American company. First thing this morning, thought, I got an email. I was further surprised when the person on the other end not only apologized profusely but took responsibility for what we both thought was an error.
After a couple of back-and-forth emails, she sent me a series of links that show the pictures in question as “Some Rights Reserved” in the Creative Commons, which means all the security company has to do is give me a credit and they can use the pictures.
I thought there must be some kind of error but then I realized something. Go back up to the screenshot and see the words in pink letters.
Defaults for new uploads
I can only assume that in my naivete when I started my Flickr account four years ago, I had the settings at Some Rights Reserved. And Flickr apparently has a little loophole that doesn’t change the settings on already-uploaded photos when you change your mind.
So I only had All Rights Reserved on some of my uploads.
My only recourse, I thought, was to delete the whole shebang. And that’s what I did, uploading this message to my friends and followers who had favourited some of my photos:
Many of us upload our photos for free to share, thinking we might bring a little smile to anyone who happened upon them or maybe even hoping for a little reassurance that, hey, we can take a decent picture.
And whether we set our accounts to All Rights Reserved or Some Rights Reserved, it”s no protection. It’s only a Stop sign at a four-way intersection and we all know how many people roll right through.
I still haven’t figured out whether I should try selling any of my shots. Some friends tell me I should.
But in the event I do, I don’t want any free copies floating around there.
You’ll notice watermarks on the photos I think are pretty good. And you’ll see a new policies page going up on OurGreatEscape.ca. It’s just my way of protecting myself as best as I can.
If you have any suggestions or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments.