Friday, February 18, 2011

Steampunk Wallpaper

I took the plunge a little while ago and went for issuing my Flickr-hosted photos under the least restrictive CC licence (a simple Attribution one), with the intention of allowing people to make use of them as they see fit. This essentially means that anyone can make use of the images without having to ask my permission, so long as they give a credit and (ideally) some kind of link back to the original work. The theory is that the more they are opened up, the more likely it is that other people will make use of them. The more others make use of them, the more my name or work gets spread around, bringing more visitors back my way (which is basically the essence of Creative Commons licences).

It's not immediately easy to keep a track on who does actually use these items. Ideally, whenever somebody uses your work, they would tell you and you'd be able to keep track of what has been used. This would add more levels of restriction to the use of the licensed work though, which runs counter to what a culture of sharing is trying to encourage. Instead, I believe that good 'CC practice' is to tell someone when you've used their work, expecting nothing back in return but embracing it when someone tells you 'Hey, I did something with your picture/tune/words (delete as appropriate)'. Admittedly I've not done it that often when I've used another person's CC-ed works, but have had a positive response on the occasions that I have.

Stumbling over my Flickr stats the other day, I found out that one of my pictures had indeed been used in the manner I was making them available for - in the legal parlance, a 'derivative work' had been created. Having never previously made any knowing contributions to the culture of steampunk, I was intrigued to find that a photo of a Nagano ski-slope I'd taken had made its way into an image at - a place I'd never knowingly have stumbled across. There's an intriguing element added to the original picture that I would have loved to have seen first time around!

Have you had any interesting re-uses made of your work?


shaun said...

I've occasionally had emails via Flickr to use my photos and I'm usually happy to oblige. One was for a textbook in the Far East as I remember; another time one of my New York photos was wanted for a backdrop to a children's film. After giving permission that's the last I've heard in each instance.

I guess I appreciate folks bothering to ask. That said, I'm sure plenty of photos are used without permission just because they're published online. You've made me think I need to consider my own CreativeCommons attributions as I haven't given it much thought until now.

On another note I remember (and I hope I'm right here!) asking you for permission to use one of your snowy scenes as a backdrop to the Christmas card I made for my mum. I'll try to find a copy. I remember using the same image as a desktop wallpaper too for a time - though I don't remember asking your permission to do that! Sorry!

Globalism said...

We hold on preciously to the stuff that we make at first, but easily forget that anything we put online is easily copyable by anyone.

One of the reasons I like Creative Commons licenses is that permission is already given for something to be used. Sure, it's nice to be asked and even told about it afterwards, but I'm more happy that someone's appreciated my work enough to want to use it than being precious about permissions. Another reason I like them is that I'm making a contribution to a global commons of creative works - pictures, writings, songs, etc for anyone else to use or rework into something else. It's also good SEO for you, and Flickr makes it easy to add the licenses.

Don't remember the Christmas card thing, but glad to know that the pictures were used!