Creative Commons licenses help you become king of your content instead of allowing your content to be your king.
This past week I learned a lot about content licensing and sharing. I did not put much thought into prior to that. I have occasionally feared someone stealing my photography 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 someone stealing it, but why fear it?
Everyone feels, or at least they want to feel, that their work and content are original. They also 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 for dear life. I thought that’s what I had to do to “make it.” Like the majority of others, I opted to use the all rights reserved license.
We ended up having an in-depth conversation about Creative Commons. We discussed the various types of licensing they have available for us to put on our content. These conversations had me thinking more about where I actually stood on licensing my work. How much of my work derives from the work of others?
For example, the photo above. I didn’t create nor design that sign but I did take the photo of it. And now I claim it 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.
Using Creative Commons On My Work
So, I decided to officially change the licensing on my photography and websites. Honestly, I don’t really profit much from licensing photos. I have had made some money here and there, usually though I let people use my photos for free. The income I make from photography comes from actually being hired to take photos. I do want to credit for my work. And I do think it’s wrong for a company to use my work for profit without giving me some kind of compensation.
I carefully reviewed all the different options that Creative Commons offered. 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 identical terms. What’s also really cool about Creative Common’s license is that it has all the legal wording necessary for those terms. It also makes 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?