This past week I learned a lot about content licensing and sharing. I’ve never put much thought into it other than having a bit of fear of getting ripped off or someone stealing one of my photos and claiming it as their own. If I want people to see my photography I must “put it out there” into the public arena. When something is in the public you always risk of someone stealing it, but why fear it? Everyone feels, or at least they want to feel, that their work and content is original and they want to prevent others from using, copying or manipulating their work without express permission. I was one of those who thought I had to hold on to all my photos and writings with dear life thinking that’s what I had to do to “make it.” So I, like so many others, opted to use the all rights reserved license.
We had an in depth conversation about Creative Commons and the types of licensing they have available for us to put on our content. I started to think more about where I actually stood on licensing my work. How much of my work derives from the work others? Like the photo I took of the sign above. I didn’t create nor design that sign but I did take a photo of it and claim as my own. If I am willing to create art derived from the work of others, then why would I not be open to others using, sharing or copying my work liberally? These are the kind of questions I was throwing around in my head.
I decided to officially change the licensing on my photography and websites. Honestly, I don’t really profit anyway from people asking to use to my photos, I have had made a little bit of money here and there, usually though I let people use my photos for free. Most income I make from my photography comes from actually being hired to take photos. I do still though want to get credited for the work I do and I think it’s wrong for a company to use my work to profit without giving me some kind of compensation. I carefully reviewed all the different options that Creative Commons offered and I decided to go with the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike on my websites and photos. It allows me to give explicit permission to viewers of my work to remix, tweak, and build upon it non-commercially, as long as they credit me and license their new creations under the identical terms. What’s also really cool about Creative Common’s licensing is that is has all the legal wording necessary for those terms while making it readable for the average person and for computers when searching through content on the web.
Are you king of your content or is content your king?