If there was a Most Valuable Player award for advancing open content, I would certainly give it to Creative Commons. Remove CC from history, say it never happened, and I wonder if we’d have the awareness of enabling sharing content. I dont want to argue that point, it is a long winded way of saying it is a Good Thing. A damned Good Thing.
This relates to an experience I had today the leads maybe to more questions. For quite some time, I have posted my photos to flickr with the simplest CC license, By-Attribution. That’s all I want; I don’t care what you do with my photos, commercial not, how you further license them, whatever. I don’t post them to gain anything, i post them because I like them. If you do, great.
So today, as has happened a few times in the past, someone emails me via flickr asking permission to use one of my photos, actually for an exhibit at one of the San Francisco science museums. My usual thought is something like- Don’t they get Creative Commons? They can use it w/o asking permission, that’s the beauty.
And that’s where the little light bulb (really little, about 0.0005 watt) went off– if they did not ask, then I would never know my photo was being used. And that tells me a lot.
First the left side of the brain starts firing, thinking about ways re-use of photos my trigger trackbacks, or maybe there are ways of generating CC attribution text (RDF?) that would contain sometihng to track its placement, or maybe some centralized directory… And then a voice (am I hearing voices?) goes, “That is too complicated! Add any more steps to the process for the user of CC content, and the re-use goes way down”. It must be simple, time to shave the Occam style.
While it would be nice to know that my picture was used in some art installation or commercial for meat food products, any expectation to automate notification is doomed, and really I will find out by accident, or not at all.
And then another click. My CC license of attribution is a basic minimum. That’s all you really have to do to re-use my photos. But how much do you aspire to do the just minimum? Is that it?
So rather then knee-jerking a “don’t they understand CC” when someone asks permission, I am now appreciative because I have an old fashioned trackback. And this changes things when I use someone else’s CC imagery– sure, I can slap my attribution in and be done, but maybe I ought to do more than minimum and sometimes contact the image creator and let them know where their photo, song, etc has been put to re-use.
As I write this, it seems like Blogging the Obvious, but it was just a subtle shift in my attitude today. Attribution is great, notification is better, an honorary level of respect and appreciation above the minimum (and that you may enjoy someday receiving).