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Should you be worried about the FlickrFan license?

One of the bad habits I have is checking licenses for any crazy stuff, and I found something interesting in the license for Dave Winer’s new product, FlickrFan.

“You acknowledge that SNI or third parties own all right, title and interest in and to FlickrFan, portions thereof, or software or content provided through or in conjunction with FlickrFan, including without limitation all Intellectual Property Rights.”

So are the photos that FlickrFan downloads from Flickr “provided through… FlickrFan”? It certainly sounds like it to me. And, if that’s correct, it means that the license demands that you grant “all right, title and interest” in content which you do not own.

I’m certain that this isn’t the intention of the license, but it certainly raises some interesting questions. After all, copying a bunch of images from Flickr to your hard drive, while easy to do, will almost certainly violate a fair-few copyrights too.

And incidentally, I’ve seen quite a few comments around the web that FlickrFan is “open source”. It is not. As Dave puts it:

“The reason all this will be so familiar to Radio 8 users is that it builds on the same engine, the one that was released as open source in 2004… And because it’s an open platform, other developers can do the same. Not saying they will, but they can.”

While the platform is “open” and the product is built on some open source code (Frontier, if I’m not much mistaken) the product itself is not open source.

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