Creative Commons provides a set of tools that allow author, publishers, etc. to explicitly license their content for a broader set of fair use than regular Copyright law allows. This increases the usefulnes of the creation and allows other to build further on your own creation. Sounds scary for some people, sounds like a dream for other.
Ever since I started uploading my photos to flickr (I’m doing quite a bit of photography in my spare time), I’ve tried to make most of them available under the most free Creative Commons license. The few exceptions are photos featuring people, where I usually don’t have explicit permission from the persons to license the photo freely. I’ve also made the same exception for cars with visible license plates, as that will identify the person owning the car. Otherwise, I’ve tried to publish my photos under a Creative Commons Attribution Only license.
While I probably had the same reservations as most people had when I first looked into relicensing my photos, my experiences so far has only been positive. I’m still amazed to find new ways people are using my images every now and then, and possibly the most surprising usage of any of my images were found today:
In the norwegian local historic wiki, one of my images of two goats at Nordens Ark in Sweden is used as an example of how a Geitbåt (A goat boat) resembles the stretched neck of a goat. Amazing. If you ever go to read about the danish city of Elsinore (Helsingør) on Wikipedia (or Kronborg Castle), the image of the main land mark of the city was taken by yours truly. My images has been on cnbc.com, featured in online travel guides, in articles about how to save money on used games, in self improvement guides, in a farmer’s guide in connecticut about cows, in an english textbook and surely loads of other places. The alternative would have been that all the photos had been sitting on flickr, alone by themselves and possibly seen by .. 2 people. If that many. And one of them would have been me.
My tip: License all your stuff as freely as possible and watch the world use it in ways you never had imagined.
I like this world. And I’ll try to license my photos under the newest CC license as long as I’m finding the fun in taking pictures. Awesome.
Update: A friend of mine, Vegard, discovered that his photo of one of NSB’s BM93s is featured on the front page of Wikipedia today (21st of January, 2009). Wonder how many people have seen that image now…