Flickr + Creative Commons = ?
April 18, 2011 8:18 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of switching my default Flickr license from All Rights Reserved to Creative Commons. Help me understand the practicalities of this.

The default license for my photos has long been All Rights Reserved, but I'm not really opposed to people reusing my work for non-commercial purposes. Lately, I've thought about switching my license to Creative Commons by-nc-sa.

What I don't know is what, if anything, this will do in terms of people using my photos. Are photos with more open licenses more popular? Are people more likely to misappropriate a CC licensed photo than they are an All Rights Reserved photo? Are there any practical advantages or disadvantages? Or is it mostly just about promoting licensing karma?

For reference, I've been around the open source world for years, so I'm familiar with the theory behind the Creative Commons. I've just never used it for my own work.
posted by fremen to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The only disadvantage I have seen with the CC license (any form) is that your photos may be used without your knowledge in ways that you may not like.

One of my photos, where I was standing in a suit next to a fountain was used in a blog post with inappropriate caption/comments.

I would suggest any photos with people in it be excluded from the license (through use of a set perhaps?).
posted by theobserver at 8:57 PM on April 18, 2011

Some organizations that should know better use CC images as if they were public domain.

It's happened to me twice, both with big media blogs (a tech/lifestyle magazine's and a metro newspaper's). In both cases, they ignored the 'no commercial use' aspect of CC-BY, and in one case, they failed to give attribution.

To be fair, when I called the newspaper on it, they fixed the attribution and offered to pay.
posted by zippy at 9:49 PM on April 18, 2011

Personal anecdote here.

All my photos on flickr are CC-licensed (cc-by). The four times people have tried to use my photos (that I know about), I got politely asked. I replied that they didn't really need to ask for permission, or need to pay me. In two cases I asked for copies of the final product (book and brochure), and received them. In one case, the photo included a friend's picture and I mentioned to the requester that I needed to get the person's permission (publicity rights are different from copyright). The person in the photo declined permission, and the photo wasn't used, as far as I know.
posted by haykinson at 10:56 PM on April 18, 2011

Just to echo what others have said, I would be careful about pictures of other people. Without a model release, you're on shaky ground releasing that picture for reuse. In some countries it is outright forbidden, while in others it's just going to get you into trouble if the picture appears in an inappropriate situation.
posted by londonmark at 2:18 AM on April 19, 2011

I am a CC user. I most frequently use CC images that are licensed for commercial use. I would encourage you to read the license you're adopting. All of the BY licenses state "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor." Virtually nobody makes a statement on their Flickr page dictating how they would like to be attributed. I always attribute but have executed that in a variety of flexible ways.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:44 AM on April 19, 2011

I use CC licensed images from Flickr in a variety of work. This may or may not be in a context you approve of. I attribute them, but that's about i - I don't ever contact people about using their images.

I also most frequently use CC images that are licensed for commercial use.
posted by plonkee at 7:52 AM on April 19, 2011

fremen: "Are people more likely to misappropriate a CC licensed photo than they are an All Rights Reserved photo?"

I don't think people who would violate non-commercial clauses care whether it's nc or not. I don't personally like nc, but it's certainly better than having to negotiate terms individually.
posted by pwnguin at 9:17 AM on April 19, 2011

Everything I post there is BY-NC-SA. At least once or twice I've been asked if someone can use a photo. I figure people will use 'em whether I say they can or not, and really I don't much care so long as no one is making money off of it or claiming it as their own when it's my work.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:47 PM on April 19, 2011

@plonkee - I am sure your intentions are honorable, but there are a lot of people who don't understand that a CC license does not give them license to portray people in a bad way.

One of my friends posted a photo of him - he had processed one such that it looked like h was talking to a snake. He was in a hotel attending a business meeting and had wandered outside during lunch and found an exotic animals shop. Oh, and he was wearing a suit.

It was used in a stupid rant, where the blogger compared lawyers to snakes (my friend was a paint company exec!) and said that lawyers could speak Parseltongue, with this photo as a visual. He went further by just attributing the name to my friend with no link (caption said "Name").

It is precisely these kind of things that I am scared of. If you are using it in a fair context, no problems (someone contacted me about using a pic of me where I was talking to a street performer and this blog was about street performances losing their popularity). This is fine with me.
posted by theobserver at 8:08 AM on April 20, 2011

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