12 August 2008

Microsoft (Hearts) Intellectual Monopolies...

...provided they are its own:

Microsoft has always been rather strident on the topic of copyright infringement, as you may have noticed, which makes tale of its "Iconic Britain" photo contest all the more astonishing.

The competition was designed as part of the marketing campaign around Windows Live Image Search, with Nikon as the prize partner. Unlike most photographic competitions, which tend to involve photographers submitting their own work (crazy, I know), this one invited entrants to search for other people's online pictures, then submit the ones they felt were iconic British stuff, in the hope of winning a Nikon camera. As for the photographers themselves, they get nada--not even a link-back to their site or a credit of their name.

Spotted the problem yet?

Inevitably, the reality of this situation hit the photographic community, following which the feces really hit the fan. Here's a particularly entertaining thread on Flickr, in which members vent at the fact that their photos--many of which had been set for private viewing only--had been scraped by Microsoft and pulled over, creditless, to Microsoft's servers.

Another case of do as I say, not as I do.

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