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Does Someone Have a Coffee Mug with Your Kid on it?

Coffee Mugs

You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t know what the product is, it’s probably you.”  A website site by designer, Yuri Veerman and journalist, Dimitri Tokmetzis leaves no question. 

Starting at just €15.95, you can buy “someone’s kid on your favorite mug”.   You can choose from 63 different pictures of kids the creators found on flicker, although some have been removed upon the parent’s request.  Is this legal?  Yes.  Whether or not they realize it, each photographer has agreed to a Creative Commons license that makes their photograph freely available for commercial use.  Is it creepy?  Absolutely!  And that’s really the point.

Koppie Koppie is part of a national campaign in the Netherlands to raise awareness of privacy concerns with social media.  If a parent sees a picture of themselves or their child on a mug and wishes it removed, the store promises to have it down the same day.  But the creators really want parents to take a look at their license settings.  Not every site using your pictures may agree to stop selling it quite so easily.  In addition to the Koppie Koppie store, a poster and a video campaign* were also launched to protest a Dutch privacy ruling.  The video and poster show us just how strange our online behavior would be in-person. 

If you are a flickr user, I highly recommend you visit the Koppie Koppie** site to see if you recognize any of the kids.  Even if your kid isn’t on a mug yet, it’s a good idea to check out both the privacy settings and the license settings on the social media sites you use.

*This website is in Dutch.  The posters and video require no translation.

**The Koppie Koppie site has been taken down, but the lessons learned from it are still valuable.

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