"In the world of creative works, photography has always been in a category alone." Such begins the rather philosophical conclusion of a New York Times article about the delightfully long-and- winding case brought against Virgin Mobile in Australia by Alison Chang, a 15-year-old girl in Texas. First, a picture of Alison was taken by her church youth counselor, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, which he put up on flickr along with some 11,000(!) of his other photographs, with a Creative Commons usage license that allowed for commercial uses as long as he was credited by name. From there it was taken by a Australian ad agency, which altered it and used it for a ad for Virgin Mobile—crediting Wong as requested, not thinking it had done anything wrong.
Forgotten in this happy recycling-fest were Alison's rights as a model, which aren't the photographer's to give away. Then, another flickr user, "sesh00" (Brenton Cleeland), took a picture of the ad (shown here…legally, I might add, since this is a news item and the picture is directly relevant to this text) and posted it to flickr!
…Where Alison Chang herself was the first to comment on it, saying "i [sic] think i'm [sic] being insulted." Thus began a long process of sorting out the various rights and courtesies that have led to the lawsuit being filed against Virgin Mobile by Alison and her family.
Creators…it's ten o'clock. Do you know where your photographs are?