The (Creative) Commons

Creative Commons icon.

For this assignment, I decided to license the photos from the photo essay I posted back in June. I licensed them as CC BY-SA after reading about each of the licenses and using the Creative Commons “Choose a License” generator. All of the icons in this post are linked to their corresponding deeds. Click here to see my updated post with all the photos and their shiny new CC licenses.

Features I included in the CC license for my photos:

Creative Commons Attribution icon.

Attribution – I am not as good a person as Garrison Keillor (see my recent post about IP); I want people to give me credit for my work. I thought I could overcome this and just set all my photo free into the Internet, but I couldn’t do it. There’s a bit of ego in this decision, but I put time into these photos and I think it’s okay that I want recognition if other people use them. Now that I’ve decided to include attribution, there’s a certain requirement on me to make attribution relatively painless and properly tag all of my licensed photos.

Creative Commons Share-Alike icon.

Share-Alike –    I read more about share-alike because I was confused about where it sat on the  freedom scale. A license with attribution and share-alike is heading towards the middle of the freedom scale because share-alike puts more limitations on future users. But I think that the share-alike feature actually perpetuates the freedom in the license; it means that the next person using the photo may make money off of it, but they can’t decide to slap a non-commercial license on it and stop the next person from making money off of it as well. This way all of the derivative works also end up in CC. I like that I get a say in how my work retains its freedom in the future and promotes the growth of CC.

Features I decided to forego in the CC license for my photos:

Creative Commons Non-Commercial icon.Non-commercial – I went into this assignment thinking that I wanted BY-SA-NC on each of my photos. It’s the license with the highest number of flickr photos, and it feels safer(?). I did a little more research, and found that adding that NC isn’t explicitly frowned upon, but it kind of defeats the purpose of CC and where most of us hope to go with a more open Internet. It may be less restrictive than “all rights reserved,” but it isn’t really helping anybody. I hadn’t thought about the bloggers who make money from their pages being excluded either. "Approved for Free Cultural Works" seal.And while I would be excluding them, CC would be excluding me from this great little green badge, and I really, really wanted the green badge.

Creative Commons Non-Derivative icon.

Non-derivative – I can definitely think of some pieces of work that I would want to apply the non-derivative feature to, like capstone/final projects that you’re not ready for people to mess with. But for my set of photos it didn’t really make sense to hang on to this right. If someone likes one of my photos, crops it, and throws it into a presentation on Kodiak that is public on Prezi, then I say go for it. I see the non-derivative as being one of the most limiting features because it is so rare that a piece of media is useful as a whole for new projects.


Proper use of my work under the CC BY-SA license:

A small business owner in Kodiak sees one of my pictures and wants to use it as the header image for their business website where they not only sell their goods, but also host ads. They resize and crop the photo to fit the space on the site. Seeing the need for attribution they attach the appropriate information to the new CC license, including my name, changes, and the continuation of attribution and share-alike features. Way to go, small business owner!

Improper use of my work under the CC BY-SA license:

Another small business owner, who doesn’t know much about CC licensing, likes my picture so much that they want to put it on a poster and sell it. But, they forget to attribute the work to me. When the poster becomes a hit, the business owner figures he should put a CC license on the image so no one else can profit from it. So, they slap a CC BY-NC-ND license on my CC BY-SA image. If and when I see the poster featuring my image for sale, I’ll look for the attribution and unfortunately it will be missing. With a little more digging I may also see the new CC BY-NC-ND license. My first step would be to contact the business owner who is using my original image. With a strongly worded letter with plenty of legal terms I’m sure they’d come to their senses. If not, I can report the infringement and ask for a take down notice and for that person to lose their rights to my image. Along the way I’d probably need to find legal help, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.