The Internet May Be More Public Than You Think

We (hopefully!) all know by now to be careful what we post on the internet — after all, depending on the location and the nature of the post, your words may be extremely permanent. Nevertheless, many people also use the internet to share pictures of friends and family, fun vacations, or…even the local church car wash.

A Dallas family is suing Australia’s Virgin Mobile company for using a photo of their sixteen year old daughter in an advertising campaign that features her along with the slogan “Dump your pen friend” and the tagline “Free text virgin to virgin.” The young girl’s photo was apparently taken at a church car wash, and later posted to Flickr by her youth counselor, who published the photo using a sharing license from Creative Commons that allows others to reuse work such as photos without violating copyright laws, provided they credit the photographer and indicate where the photo was taken. You can read the full article here.

So next time you’re automatically clicking to accept a license agreement on a website, give a little pause. Take a moment to actually read through the terms of use, and be sure you understand the fine print of what you’re agreeing to. You may be unintentionally giving others rights that you didn’t intend.

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