Everybody Knows Britney

Britney Spears is a lovely young woman and a passable songstress. What is most amazing about her, however, is how freely she allows Flickr members to take her photo. And, let me tell you, many of those photos are just super professional looking. Search Britney Spears on Flickr and you get just over twenty thousand hits.

Of course the vast majority of the photos of Spears on Flickr are posted in violation of someone’s copyright. I wonder how many take down notices Flickr gets for Britney photos. Of course, I’m sure a lot of copyright holders don’t mind the publicity and don’t complain. Protected by the the safe harbor provisions of copyright law exempting it from liability for copyright violations on photos posted by members, Flickr has no real incentive to remove an offending photo till a copyright holder complains and demands the image be taken down.

What percentage, I wonder, of photos of celebrities on Flickr violate copyright law? Lady Gaga is a tag on over fifty thousand photos. The handful of photos I looked at contain many that appear to have been taken at a concert. Those photos are unlawful, too, assuming photography was forbidden at the venue (if not the shots are legal unless used for some commercial purpose). Of course, in this day of smart phones with mega pixel still and video cameras, trying to stop photography at a concert is like trying to stop the crowd from singing along.

Below is a creative commons photo from Flickr of Lady Gaga in concert in London. Can I legally post it here? I think so. The photographer owns the copyright. He’s licensed it to me. If he violated his ticket license I don’t believe I have any vicarious liability (I didn’t buy a ticket, after all). If you think I’m wrong, let me know (I don’t of course know English law).

Original photo by Aline Gomes, remixed by me,  and subject to a creative commons license

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