presentation about a court case between Adam Curry and the publishers of the dutch tabloid weekend that involved the improper use of CC licensed material. This presentation was part of the legal track of the isummit 2006
7. the ‘curry case’ (a. curry v. audax/Weekend)
• District Court of Amsterdam - decision on 9 march, 2006
Interim measure, Case number 334492 / KG 06-176 S
• English translation available at: mirrors.creativecommons.org/
• bought forward by Adam Curry, his wife and daughter
(residing in the UK) against Audax, the publisher of the dutch
tabloid Weekend and two senior editors
• three lines of argument:
• violation of right of portrait
• privacy violations
• copyright (CC license violation)
8. the ‘curry case’- the facts
• in issue 3/2006, Weekend used CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 licensed
photos from Adam Curry’s flickr account in a 4-page story
about his family life.
• By letter of 20 January 2006 the Curry's counsel demanded
from Audax that it cease the sales of Weekend issue 3, that it
publish a rectification and pay €10000 as an advance to the
• in issue 4 the following rectification was published: ‘In the
previous Weekend issue we drew attention to Adam Curry [...]
The publication was accompanied by photographs taken from
a virtual photo album on the Internet. We should have
requested permission for publication of those photographs.
We regret that we failed to do so and would like to apologize
to the Curry family.’ Audax also offered €1500 compensation.
10. arguments brought forward by curry (2)
• Weekend has not complied with the requirements for using
the photos set by the License.
• Article 4 sub c of the License stipulates that the use (of the
photos) may not produce any commercial benefits. Weekend
is a downright commercial magazine.
• Article 4 sub a of the License stipulates that distribution and
public display of a work have to be accompanied by a copy of
the License. Weekend has not observed this requirement:
every reference to the License is lacking.
• In violating the above requirements Weekend fails to execute
the contract to which it was bound.
11. arguments brought forward by weekend (1)
• Adam Curry has actively sought publicity for years and still
hundreds of private pictures of the Curry family are accessible
for anyone to see at www.flickr.com.
• The four photos at dispute have been published in Weekend
in good faith.
• The statement quot;This photo is publicquot; put Weekend/Audax
under the impression that it had the permission to publish the
photos, with the note that the copyright rests with Adam
• The link to the License is not traceable in an obvious manner.
Audax became aware of the License only after notification by
Curry's lawyer. Therefore Audax cannot be blamed the
violation of the requirements set in the License.
15. arguments brought forward by weekend (2)
• Weekend's not mentioning the conditions of the License did
not cause Curry to suffer any harm at all, as fact that the
copyright on the photos rests with Curry has been mentioned.
• Article 4 sub c of the License has not been violated.
Weekend's principal reason to publish the photos is not to
make a profit but to inform its readers. Audax is entitled to
such freedom of expression.
• The non commercial clause seems to be meant to prevent
merchandising (e.g. production of picture postcards), not to
prevent placement of photos to illustrate news reports.
16. is weekend bound by the license?
• Adam Curry owns the copyright in the four photos, and the
photos, by their posting on that website, are subject to the
Creative Commons License.
• Therefore Weekend should observe the conditions that control
the use by third parties of the photos as stated in the License
• this confirms that a by exercising any rights granted by the
license the user is bound by the conditions
• It may be expected from a professional party that it conducts
a thorough and precise examination before publishing photos
originating from the internet.
• Had Weekend conducted such an investigation they would
have found the CC License. In case of doubt as to the
applicability and the contents of the License, it should have
17. does weekend comply with B by-nc-sa?
• Articles 4 sub a (atibution) and 4 sub c (non-commercial use
only) have been violated:
• BY: while Curry is correctly identified as the author/
copyright holder, the edition of Weekend at dispute makes
no reference whatsoever to the License.
• NC: Audax has violated that provision as well because
publication of an entertainment magazine such as Weekend
can be regarded first and foremost as a commercial
• the court orders Audax to refrain from further using pictures
from Curry's flickr page in ways that are not authorized by the
CC licenses (or without authorization om Curry) at pain of a
penalty of €1000 of each violation with a maximum of €20000.
• However, the court does not see any economic damages
caused to Curry by Weekends license violations:
• Photos that are already accessible for free for everyone on
the internet have no commercial value (anymore)
• Curry has been acknowledged as the copyright holder and
the subsequent rectification states that Weekend was
wrong not to ask for permission.
• no damages are awarded to Curry
• Because of this a lot of people have the impression that Curry
has 'lost' the case, a number of people have concluded that
the CC licenses offer no protection against violations as there
is no monetary risk for infringers.
• Judge would have hardly found monetary damage in the
absence of CC licenses.
19. issues raised by the case
• licenses do work as a tool that can be used by a court of law
• there is a problem when attempting to enforce monetary
compensation in case of license violation (how to quantify SA)
• this case was not really about a license violation but about
• a more interesting case would have been a case where
commercial use is allowed and this is then disputed by the
• (un)clear definition of non-commercial
• fair use anyone?
20. thank you!
more information at:
this presentation is licensed under the terms of a Creative Commons BY-NC-
SA 2.5 license. All photographs by Adam Curry (obviously!). for a copy of the
license see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/