Creative Commons licenses are often used by photographers to protect their work from being used for business purposes without them being compensated. However, a recent news report by NBC revealed that major companies like IBM might be ‘breaking’ the Creative Common copyright by using publicly available galleries for the development of their facial recognition algorithms. This has caused quite the mayhem in the Internet space, and people all over the Web are throwing arguments why this should or should not be done.
A statement by Ryan Merkley, CEO of Creative Commons, did not appear to back any of the two camps. However, they did note that individuals should not rely on copyright licenses to protect their privacy, especially considering that these licenses grant copyright over the photo to the photographer, and not to the person seen in the picture. Merkley’s statement continues by saying that this is an issue that is likely to become more severe in the future, and it is mandatory to come up with a solution to this problem.
According to the news report mentioned earlier, IBM used over 1 million photos of people found on Flickr, a popular social media used by photographers to store and display their portfolios. One of the photographers that NBC reached out to commented that neither they nor their models were contacted by IBM when they used their photos.
IBM’s public announcement was released not long after the news report gained traction, and it aimed to assure the affected individuals that they value the privacy of the people depicted in the photos and that only verified researchers had access to the data exfiltrated from the images.