Virgin, Creative Commons and Flickr

Virgin Mobile in Australia is creating a bit of a buzz by using photos they found on Flickr licensed using the Creative Commons license in advertising campaigns, including as the basis for their Virgin website Are you with us or what?

A Flickr Group called “Virgin Mobile – Are you with us or what” has started up in response to the campaign, and Australia’s Triple J radio has posted a podcast looking at the issue.

Virgin has followed the spirit of the CC license and given attribution on the photos. It seems most of the controversy revolves around the issue of whether or not the people in the photos have given permission for their likeness to be used.

As far as I know, this is the first major marketing campaign that has been built upon CC images and you have to think that commercial photographers are now either a) quaking in their boots at the thought of having to compete with millions of other photographers in an open forum, or b) salivating at the though of one of their pics getting snagged and used in a marketing campaign by a big company, thus cementing their reputation and giving them the ability to charge even more for their products.

In either case, you can expect that this campaign will go a long way to clarifying exactly what CC licensing is and help people understand the different levels of licensing that CC offers. And we can expect to see many more large ad agencies search the Flickr pool before dishing out thousands of dollars for a stock Getty image.


Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out