Friday, May 1, 2009

A question about Creative Commons

I had a very nice surprise today - one of my photos of Brisbane river which I have placed on Flickr has been picked up by Schmap, which is a map guide. I had a very nice email from Emma, at Schmap explaining that she was using my photo in the guide for Brisbane. I have a Creative Commons license on the photo which means it can be used in any way as long as it is attributed back to me.

This is great, thought I, fame at last.

But I have just realised that Schmap has an 'all rights reserved' license on its work. So now I am wondering if I should ask Emma to remove my photo as it contravenes my license. But then again, maybe I have got the wrong license attached to my work? What I do not want to happen is for my work to be locked up under someone else's 'all rights reserved' license.

Gosh, I'm confused - can anyone help me sort this out?


easegill said...

I had a similar situation with a photo of the coolstore fire at Tamahere last year. I had already put the photo on Flickr with a cc license and a news station asked generally for photos. I pointed them to my page and said they could use some if they wanted, which they did. Their page also has an 'All rights reserved' notice. I wondered about taking it up with them but to be honest, at he time, I thought it was more bother than it was worth.

I use the 'Share alike' option on my CC license which I notice you don't. Not sure if this has a bearing. It states "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one." Now nothing happened to mine except they were displayed. You could argue that yours has been built upon.

I've thought about this a few times since and concluded that I was happy for my photos to be seen and I gave them permission to use them. People are still able to use those photos from my Flickr page. Perhaps what we need is for the attribution statement to include is a need to link back to the original when a conflict of licences happens?

You were asked, which is a good thing! Looking at the Schmap site, I can't spot your photo there but I do see that several photos have a CC symbol beside them and clicking on them passes me through to the original Flickr page. All in all, Schmap seem to be doing a reasonable job at attributing the works they are using. I remind myself that the reason I set my license under CC was that I am happy for my photos to be used. That commercial vs. non-commercial aspect though is the harder one to decide upon! As I recall, Downes and others had some disagreement in the past on whether allowing commercial use was 'a good thing' or not.

You might also be interested in the newly published 'Blog, podcast, vodcast and wiki copyright guide for Australia' published on the Australian CC site It doesn't deal with this situation but working in the realms of these media it is probably worth knowing about.
Cheers, Nigel

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks, Nigel, for your response here which has cleared things up for me. I have used CC BY because it allows all things, including commercial use of my material. I am not too worried about my material being used in a commercial context as long as I get full attribution. I am more concerned about my material being re-used in a way that is completely locked down, which contravenes my own personal philosophy. So I think you're right that maybe I need to re-consider the license I use - I'll have a further think. Thank you.

JessC said...

Hey Sarah

When we've looked at Schmap in the past they've always added a note to the individual photo indicating it was CC-licensed, and providing link back to your Flickr and the appropriate licence.

Have they not done that with you?

Unless you use a ShareAlike licence, they can use your material in an all rights reserved product - as long as they attribute you and indicate your photo is under CC.

Is that enough?

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks, Jess - no, Schmap have linked to my original photo which gives the license for the photo-I was just a little perturbed by their 'all rights reserved" license, which I was worried would affect how people could re-use my photo. I have had CC BY on everything but this event has got me concerned & wanting to change everything to CC share alike. But as someone said to me the other day (Leigh Blackall), I cannot police it - so I'm best off going back to CC BY.