Tuesday, June 09, 2009

You Ought to Be in Pictures

Bag News Notes has been doing some interesting analysis of the White House Flickr stream. The ones of First Lady Michelle Obama are particularly remarkable.

Yet, unlike the State Department Flickr photostream, in which the images sport Creative Commons licenses, after its diplomats were scolded by Rebecca MacKinnon for initially claiming "all rights reserved," the White House images come with the following cumbersome statement in legalese asserting considerable restrictions on use.

This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, First Family, or the White House.

Given the number of school children who might want to use these images in reports and manipulate them in Photoshop to best serve the requirements of their projects, these limitations seem patently unreasonable.

At least the White House Flickr site isn't as ridiculous as the one belonging to NASA HQ, which actually bears the copyright symbol, even though such photographs of taxpayer-funded operations are obviously part of the public record.

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