Today I heard back from the IOC regarding my request to continue to use a Creative Commons license on my Olympic photographs.
For the full saga, read part 1 of The Olympics and Creatives Commons Photographs.
On Friday, I sent a query asking the IOC if I could continue to use a Creative Commons license, though for non-commercial use. I figured that they were deep in discussions about the request because of the slow reply. Not that I minded, because it indicated that they were giving it due consideration. Great news for everyone I figured.
However, yesterday I received an email from the Media and Communications Director of the Australian Olympics Committee asking that I give him a call. He wasn’t happy. He happened to have just returned from Copenhagen, and he was across the issue. Apparently people had been contacting him from around the world to complain about the poor Aussie “battler” that the IOC were picking on.
In the phone call he suggested that I’d gone off, “half cocked,” and should not have shared the IOC’s letter on Flickr. He explained that the IOC were more than happy for me to share my photos on Flickr, and that the licensing was the only issue. He suggested that I’d incorrectly informed people that they had an issue with the sharing.
I explained that I had not informed people incorrectly, and was very careful about what I said. I had been confused as to the intent of the letter, so I left the interpretation open to others. We ended the conversation after I agreed to let everyone know that the IOC were happy for me to share my images.
After the chat, I sent a new email to the IOC to find out if any progress had been made with my inquiry.
I wanted to touch base with you again to see if there was any further
progress on your side with respect to my inquiry into the use of a
Creative Commons license that is non-commercial.
I really appreciate your last email, and also some clarity from the AOC.
I’d love to resolve this and make what ever changes are required.
I’d also like to point out that I have no intent to make things
difficult for the IOC, and that although I note that some people have
contacted you regarding the issue, I think that your response to my
query about the letter you originally sent have been very respectful.
I hoped that I’d hear back quickly, and I could put this saga behind me.
This morning I awoke to a new email from the IOC. In some ways, the response was promising. However, in other ways, it was not what I had hoped.
We carefully considered your previous email and I am happy to say that we are assessing the terms you proposed to use for licensing your pictures on your flickr account.
However, the IOC’s current policy is to restrict the use of pictures taken at the venues to private, domestic and non-commercial use and does not allow licensing of pictures to third parties, even for free non-commercial use, for the reasons I explained in my previous email.
Therefore, for the time being the IOC considers full copyright as the only suitable credit and asks that you change the license of the photos taken inside of the Olympic venues to “all rights reserved”.
Should this policy finally be amended, I will inform you in due time.
In the meantime, we thank you for your complying with the above.
What’s fantastic is they are considering the use of Creative Commons on Flickr. My hope is that in the not too distant future they’ll give the go ahead, and it will apply to any photos people take at Olympic events. What a great win that would be for everyone in general.
Unfortunately for me, I decided to change the license on my Olympic photographs to copyright for the time being. It’s disappointing, but I think it’s the fair thing to do. Although many people believe that the IOC would struggle to enforce a contract agreed at a venue in China, with an Australian citizen, for photographs hosted on a U.S. web service, I’m not the type of person to thumb my nose at corporations.
So tonight, I have changed the license on 238 photographs. Hopefully, temporarily to copyright.
In the end it seems that the IOC do not have an issue with me sharing my photos. That’s great news. Unfortunately, they needed to send a legal letter to get the ball rolling. As I said in my last blog post, they really should have just given me a call, or a gentle email asking for me to change my license. However, it could be great in the long run because this issue has prompted the IOC to investigate the use of Creative Commons. An organisation like the IOC endorsing CC would be a massive win for us all.
Let’s see what happens.
In the mean time, I’d love to thank everyone who gave me their support. In only a week, we prompted the IOC to consider how Creative Commons could be a great thing for the Olympic movement.