Virgin Mobile seems to have just made a potentially big ‘oopsie.’
In a current outdoor advertising campaign, the giant media corporation grabbed a photo off flickr (from user chewywong) and slapped it onto a billboard. That’s not where the issue lies. The photo was licensed under the creative commons and all that was required for use of the photo was the printing of a link back to the source material and Virgin complied with this license.
The problem lies in that the image featured an unreleased minor. Using this photo without a model release opens up Virgin to a potential claim by the model. Currently, the model and her family are investigating their legal options in a claim against Virgin. They’re not pleased about the use and probably won’t have a big problem finding a lawyer to pick up the case for them.
The usage was originally discovered by a flickr user (sesh00) who hoped to inform a fellow user about the use of the photo. He saw the billboard in Australia and took a photo which he posted here (see that link for much of the commentary from the model and her family). He has also posted this thread that discusses the situation.
Instead of paying a photographer and model to produce a shoot, Virgin looks like it may be paying even more both in terms of cash and in public opinion.