I’ve found myself saying “Hey that’s mine!” a couple time over the years.
Most people who know me know that I take a lot of photographs. Most of the time I take pictures for fun but a couple times I have been asked by people to take pictures for a specific purpose. Sometimes it’s been a school that I’ve worked at and they are unhappy with the way the school photos have historically turned out or just wanted more control over the whole process. Other times it’s been for the school yearbook, school brochures, or just to document special things the school has done such as trips.
I don’t have a problem with people using my photographs for these purposes, especially because they told me their intent up front. What I do have a problem with is when people use my images without my permission or they use them in a way that is different from how they expressed they were going to us them. As a result of a couple people using my images without explicit permission on my part I have made private or have prohibited downloading of all my photos… until I learned about Creative Commons.
I have been using Flickr now for a couple years for various reasons. It is a great way to back up photos but I also knew that it could be a good way to get your images out there and seen by other people. I wasn’t sure how to do that and still maintain control over the images. This is where Creative Commons comes in. Kudos to the people who are working on this. It’s a really forward thinking concept.
I am actually all for sharing. I think sharing is a great way to for you to learn. Often times someone can use what you have to further what they are working on or vice versa. If you think about it we are all influenced by things that we read and see and whether or not we are conscious of it we use these influences to create things ourselves. So in essence we are borrowing things that others have shared and are incorporating them into what we are creating, albiet maybe on a subconscious level. I remember reading something along these lines in a book by Malcom Gladwell called “What the Dog Saw“.
As with any area of law things can get murky, confusing or not always clear so the best thing to do is head over to the Creative Commons website and take the time to read up.
I would say that when in doubt try to over cite your source. The worst thing would be for someone to think that you are trying to use their property without permission in a way that was not as you intended.
A great tool to use when searching for Creative Commons images is by using CompFight. You can set the search criteria so that the search results retured are only those that allow use under Creative Commons. Of course you still need to credit your source but at least you know that if you find something you can use that it’s actually legal for you to do so.