Dan, the bloke mentioned above, sent me an email after reading this article and made some very valid points, which I thought important to include in this article (I’ve highlighted the important bits for easy reference):
“I read your article, and it's a good summary of the subject.
However, your conclusion should have had one more thing: if you're going to use a CC licensed image, you should still contact the person who claims to own it and have them confirm in an email that they own the image, and that you are entitled to use it under the CC terms. This verification is important, and email is acceptable by the courts. It removes the legal "pickle" that a publisher would be in if the image were actually stolen, or that the CC license might have been revoked. If a claim were made later, this email would be critical in avoiding complications.
Of course, since the entire purpose is to avoid legal complications, one should do it for _any_ photo that a publisher uses, irrespective of the CC. Therefore, the whole point of CC is actually lost.
The intention of CC is that images could be used without requiring contact between the owner and the user of works, but because the legal aspects of "rights" are such that all claims of infringement have to be defended by demonstrating consent between the parties, CC just doesn't work. That it's being used so much right now is a bubble waiting to burst. It's like the tech bubble in the 90s, or the real estate bubble we just suffered from now: sooner or later, the reality of the law is going to strike, and the illusion people have been working under with CC will be more apparent.
Of course, it won't result in a catastrophic economic meltdown... It may very well just fade away though. I suspect CC will be obviated by a more streamlined micro-payment system that will be as ubiquitous to all images online. It won't be hard to build an automated system that allows for the low-cost licensing of photos found anywhere on the net, giving assurances of usage permissions to the buyers, while also giving small amounts and photographers. This economic ecosystem will be safer and more reliable for publishers than CC, and photographers would rather get a check at the end of every month for their images, rather than nothing at all. (This, especially if it requires no more effort than it currently does to assign a CC attribution.)"