Ethical and economic issues surrounding freely available images found on the Web

Eric Lease Morgan


By reverse engineering Google queries and by tracing back the referrer values found in Apache log files, the use of images made available from is examined. Ethical and economic questions questions are then asked. While all the images from the site are “freely” available under the GNU Public License, they are not always used in the intended manner. This raises interesting questions regarding the time spent making the images available, the expense of the hardware and network connections, and whether or not the application of the images is put to good and moral purposes. This essay addresses these questions in an attempt to come to an understanding regarding the place of data, information, and knowledge in an “open” environment.

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