Flickr Flickring

chaparral-photo-eye.jpg‘Photo Eye[Day002]’ by Chaparral

Don’t Tell Me, I’m A Pirate

Pirate or Private? Booty is in the eye of the beholder. – Frank A Hilario, blogger. Life’s pretty good, and why wouldn’t it be? I’m a pirate, after all. – Johnny Depp, Best Actor, Pirates of the Caribbean, 2003. ¶ The average man will bristle if you say his father was dishonest, but he will brag a little if he discovers that his great-grandfather was a pirate. – Bern Williams, American programmer & consultant. New York Times: Why do you want to climb Mt Everest? George Mallory: Because it’s there. Where there is a sea there are pirates. – Greek proverb. Pirates aren’t born; rather, they are made. – Me again

Flickring: It’s a word I invented, to mean using an image in Flickr without prior permission – I wrote about it in some detail in the previous blogpost, titled ‘Bloghard, Blogeasy: From Lisbon, With Love.’ I plead Guilty! What else can I say? But the word-idea (concept) of flickring, the act itself, I did not invent. And I am neither the first to do it, nor the last. Downloading from Flickr thinking just a little about intellectual property rights, not minding about politeness, uploading somewhere else in the Internet, or in one’s computer, or elsewhere in the world – How many do you think there are of us? Our number is legion. Flickring is a polite way of saying pirating. How many millions of pirates are there surfing the waves of the Internet with smiles on their faces?

Now then, if you want to do something about that global phenomenon, if you really don’t want any flickring at all involving yours, don’t make your photos public. Else, I can think of 7 things you can do if you catch someone flickring your photo:

(1) Read him your rights.

Read him your intellectual property rights (IPR). The good news is: IPR is one of the latest battlecries in the freedom-conscious world. If you cry IPR, you’re not alone. It’s not just 3 out of 100 complaining of people’s abuse of the accessibility of photos in Flickr. IPR is being discussed by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The bad news is: IPR is still being debated in relation to the World Wide Web (

Intellectual property on the Internet has been a contentious topic for a number of reasons. These include (the questions): (1) Does the nature of the technology require us to change the legal status of copyright as it stands now? (2) What rights should be associated with Web content? (3) How to technically express the rights? (4) Should the expression of the rights be used for notification, enforcement, or payment negotiation?

Do you understand? That is a statement almost verbatim of Panel 3 (Rights Management, Copy Detection and Access Control) off the W3C Intellectual Property Rights website ( Note also that the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) (Uruguay Round) gives the WTO limited authority to enforce IPR ( Limited authority? Big deal.

There is badder news: The US Supreme Court has declared: ‘The patent monopoly was not designed to secure to the inventor his natural right in his discoveries. Rather, it was a reward, an inducement, to bring forth new knowledge’ (Cato Policy Report, January/February 2003, On ‘The Great Debate On Intellectual Property,’ about what an author cannot do, specifically the Cato report says:

The author, sitting in his garret writing, wins clear title to only the piece of paper and pen with which he has mixed his labor. It does not follow that the author can walk out into the street and say, ‘Shut down the presses, that’s my work you’re copying.’

Sorry, but IPR is a limited right.

Now, would you like to try something else?

(2) Threaten him.

To threaten is to express a threat against, be a source of danger to, or to announce the possibility of in a threat (American Heritage Dictionary). ‘Threaten him’ implies you have caught him red-handed; the threat is so that he would not do it again. Or, there is good reason to believe that he has committed or is about to commit the crime you impute on him. It’s your choice. If he is a coward, or an ignoramus, one warning is enough.

If not, you can do something less drastic.

(3) Insult him.

You can think of all kinds of insults; with Microsoft Word at your fingertips, you can easily type a long verbal abuse and hope that he gets the message. You can also surf the Internet for more of foul language if you want – it’s a free country, the Internet is.

How about destroying his reputation? Maybe that would make you happy.

If you’re unhappy with any of the above, how about being more serious about it and go the whole hog?

(4) Go to court.

If you can afford it, maybe it’s okay. But first, consider this: How long do you think it will take you? And how much will it really cost you in time and money? Whatever you do, make sure when you go to court, you don’t go to hell instead. Make sure you have a good case, or the case could backfire. So the fellow flickred your photograph, used it without asking you first, I mean, he asked you only after he had already used it. Remember: Being impolite is Bad Boy Behavior but is not a crime.

You do have better choices, methinks. Like so:

(5) Smile & take it with a grain of salt.

Instead of you trying to get mad, get even, why not get yourself a glass of wine and drink to it, or simply enjoy the moment? Then you will be able to write any of these happy little notes – these are from actual FlickrMails sent to me (with zero or minimal editing) by flickrers whom I asked after using their photos:

Awesome. Could you please make my username a link back to my Flickr, that’s all I ask? :]

I appreciate your informing me using my photo in your blog. I also liked your wordings! 😛 Actually, I shared with my friend and family your blogspot where my photo and my wife was featured. 😛

I am flattered that you read so much meaning into what for ME was more of an experiment in aesthetics, aka photoshopping, lol … I will now add the tag ‘gilded lady’ to my pic, as I hadn’t thought of it previously.

Thank you, Frank! ¶ I usually ask people who blog my photos to make the authorship visible, under the photo, for example ¶.Thank you, Frank! I’m truly grateful! (After I granted the request.)

Thanks for the message. Appreciated. ¶ I enjoyed reading the words you accompanied it with. ¶ … and of course I looked through your many other blog pieces too. Prolific! And very interesting. Of course I don’t hold with it all – but that’s good! … ¶ In the meantime, although a tad belated, I send you a smile from here to you for Christmas.

Frank – Glad you liked my shot and I’m happy you used it! Onward!

Hello and Merry Christmas! ¶ I’m glad you liked . The photo means much to me. Thank you for notifying me about using it in your blog and also crediting the photo to me. And of course, also for the link. Merry Christmas once again.

Sure looks good. Pagan holiday indeed. Good read!

Thank you for choosing my pic which is in your benevolent blog.

Awesome! Thank you so much!

Hi! Thanks for using the picture; it’s an honor.

Wow. I am quite flattered. Thank you so much! Feel free to use as many as you like. 🙂

There’s many more where they come from. I do much creative writing fast and flickr many photos faster. That is also a backhand compliment to Flickr: There are so many handsome & inspiring images there and I’ve scanned not even 10,000!

There’s another thing. Remember: Use of your Flickr photo with complete citation is publicity. Since it isn’t solicited by you, it adds to your credibility as a photographer or artist. Don’t forget to consider whether the use is commercial or not. Me, I’ve never used a Flickr photo commercially, and that’s also a promise.

You can only be so grateful or ungrateful – that’s a choice that only you can make or not make. Life is full of better choices if only you look around. Instead of smirking, smile & welcome the pirate!

(6) Smile & go back to innocence.

aras01-farm-girl.jpg‘Farm girl’ by Aras01

The image here is my second time to use it in my blogging. I love it for what it suggests: innocence beguiling. I imagine you can look at it and be innocent beguiled.

The thing is we have so far progressed in civilization that all we think of is intellectual property rights, which is part of human rights. Like Adam and Eve, we have forsaken the innocence of the Garden of Eden for the prize of knowledge of good and evil – which means power. We are enamored with property, with the power of knowledge, especially knowledge brought in or about or through the Internet in relation to our property. We think of personal interests first and last. We live in a society we reject.

So, for the sake of argument, let us consider without conceding that flickring a photo or two is a crime. Now, how big a crime is that compared to any of these?

Cheating the government of your income tax
Cheating on your spouse
Cheating logic and biology by declaring it is right to marry someone of your own sex
Cheating the consumers by claiming your product is better than the other when all you did was repackage it
Cheating the children of their future by abusing them
Cheating credit card companies by not paying them back
Cheating the poor of government support by making it appear that you are one of them
Cheating yourself of your future by taking illicit drugs

Cheating us all by ignoring the evidence that there is global warming and refusing to cooperate in reducing energy use (like: don’t drive a car just to buy cigarette; you don’t need a Range Rover or a Pajero driving in the City; you can do without that airconp you don’t really need a car to go on an official trip).

Oh, the choices you can make!

(7) Smile & do Romans.

When in Rome, do what the Romans do; I’m referring to the Romans of the time of St Paul; I’m also referring to all of us as Romans, to whom this is addressed (Romans 12); here is the Christian Community Bible version: ‘Do not return evil for evil, but let everyone see your good will. Do your best to live in peace with everybody.’ And here is the New International Version: ‘Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’

That is a paradox, of course. Impossible to do! That’s why Jesus taught it. No pain, no gain. That’s why I’m reminding me of it, reminding you of it.

Looking at the image on top of this blogpost, by Chaparral (also my second time to use it), do you see the pirate, or do you see with a pirate’s eye? In the one, you may have understanding; in the other, you may have only a view to seeing only half of the picture. Listen then to what William Bolitho Ryall, English writer, has to say:

It is when pirates count their booty that they become mere thieves.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bloghard Blogeasy, booty, cheating, Christian Community Bible, downloading photos, Flickr, flickring, good & evil, innocence, intellectual property rights, Internet, IPR, knowledge, NIV, pirate, power, uploading photos, US Supreme Court on patents, using without asking permission, World Wide Web, WTO

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