Discussing Creative Commons

Yesterday, when @robjdlc tweeted “People tagging in flickr! At long last!“, I didn’t realize that Flickr has gone all Facebook and lets you tag people in photos. I actually thought that he meant people were at long last starting to tag their photos, which I didn’t realize had been a problem. I responded with another problem and tweeted “@robjdlc Now how can we get them to license their photos?“.

I realize now why this didn’t entirely make sense at the time, but I did point Rob to a Discussion post on the Flickr: Bloomfield group where I encourage people to license their photos. Much like Creative Commons itself, I don’t think many people on Flickr use or even know about the Discussion feature, so I’m going to repost it here:

By default, photos added to Flickr are “All rights reserved”, which means that nobody can do anything with your work. Flickr encourages people to choose a Creative Commons license as an alternative to full copyright, which will still retain your rights to the work but allow others to use it if they give you proper credit. There are several different licenses to choose from, including some that don’t allow commercial uses of your work, and Flickr gives a good explanation of them all here.

The reason we encourage you to use Creative Commons is so that we (Bloomfield Development Corporation, a community nonprofit) can use your photos in the pages and blog posts on the Bloomfield Now website, and credit you when we do. Of course, this may help your work get published in other sources as well — my brother has had his Flickr photos published in Gothamist and Wikipedia.

If you’re interested in sharing your photos with the Bloomfield community, you can set a default license for your photostream. If you want to license your existing photos, you can batch license them here. It just takes a click.

FYI, I license all of my photos under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, which means that anyone can use my photos for noncommercial purposes, including creating derivative works/remixes, as long as they give me credit.

If you want us to know that you have licensed your photos so we can use them on the site, just email me or respond to this topic.

Rob responded with some points of his own, so I know that at least one person read my post:

If only the general public could really get to understand the impacts of this sort of thing.

By loosening stranglehold on your content that “all rights reserved” implies, you allow for innovation. With photography for any sort of intellectual property, the moment you create it, under US law, it is by default copywritten by you. No paperwork needs to be filed, no words need to be said, its just an automatic license. Its great if whatever you’ve created you’d like no one else to do anything but look at. If, however, you’d like for your content to be shared with other folks who might like it, promoted, even remixed to create new things, if you don’t specify something other than copyright, all of the above acts are illegal.

So you can use creative commons, which as this point is serving up billions of licenses worldwide and has taken several precedents in court, to specify exactly who and how your content can be used.

I, much like Carman, use Attrib-NonCom-SA, so folks can share my work with whomever they want, as long as they dont sell it, and anything they make with it must be shared as well.

Just as much as Flickr was a remix of the idea of a photo sharing community, your ideas too can be used to create great new things, as long as you allow it to happen.

I mean this to be an informative post, but if any of my readers don’t use Creative Commons, I’d like to read why. Is it because you didn’t know about it, or is it because you’re a terrible person who never learned to share? Perhaps you’re a terrible person who shares too much, or perhaps you do respect Creative Commons and like to blog about social media assholes who don’t. Discuss.