I have a dilemna due to using a Creative Commons (CC) licence on one of my photographs on flickr. The photo is part of a project that I did in 2006 for the flickr UTATA group which aimed to tells the positives and negatives of having aspergers syndrome to increase awareness of the realities and dispell some of the myths surrounding the autistic spectrum. It was called ‘Two sides to every story‘.  Some of you will already know that on flickr I am called Norma Desmond, so if people follow the my CC attricution, non commercial licence then they should credit the photo to Norma Desmond…

I have stated on my photography website that I use my photography to promote positive aspects of autism and to raise awareness and I do link to the UTATA story and a youtube video on there. I have always responded positively when people have approached me to use these – either for an academic paper, conference presentation or blog post.

I realise that applying an open licence means that I can’t really control how people use my content. Indeed my recent work on the synthesis and evaluatuon team for the JISC/HE Academy UK Open Educational Resources (OER) Programme highlighted this very issue as a significant barrier for academics sharing their learning materials openly. The fear that their work will be mis-represented or wrongly interpreted can prevent people sharing their teaching materials.

I do hope (perhaps foolishly) that people who want to use my work might inform me. I guess most of the time if they don’t ask you are unlikely to find out. However today I was watching a youtube video about colleges making adaptions for students with aspergers syndrome I scanned down the list of suggested videos. I noticed one that had the blue  picture of my son which is fairly recognisable.

So I eagerly clicked on the video to see how it had been used. It’s a long video loaded by  ‘psychetruth’ by some one called Dr John Breeding PhD Psychologist. I could write 5 or more blog posts addressing a variety of his points, including the issue around vaccinations causing autism and some of the ‘treatments’ he talks about. However his main point is that Aspergers syndrome doesn’t really exist. I find it odd then that he chose to use my photo as I am passionate about highlighting the very real and complex needs of people with aspergers syndrome. Basically there are three main issues here:

  • spurious use of my photo (although attributed to norma desmond) which is not referred to or relevant to any of his lecture. I contest that it is placed in the middle of the video so that the picture shows when static. I suggest that he is using my beautiful and autistic son to get people to click on his annoying, long winded and highly irritating video. This is my main objection.
  • he has not approached me and asked to use it (indeed technically he didn’t have to) but I have asked him to remove because I’m not happy with how he has used it. Maybe he will remove it at my request. But do I have the right to ask him??
  • Should I continue to use this licence for my photos of my son or do I risk someone else using them in a way I am unhappy with. I know that some people wont post any photos of their children online for this very reason. I don’t think this will stop me but as my son get’s older he may begin to object to this possibility.

I am asking you – my social networking friends and my working colleagues to add your thoughts about this. Are you a photographer, an oer enthusiast, a parent or carer of someone with autism, a person with autism? If you will take a moment to go to the video and ‘like’ (give a thumbs up) to my comment to keep it high up on the page then I hope it may ebncourage him to remove my photo.

Do you think I’m being unreasonable asking him to remove it? I am interested in your thoughts.