I’ll always take “Serendipity for 500”, Alex.

There was a healthy, many pathed Twitter conversation yesterday started with a statement by Robin DeRosa

I’ve posted more than my share of stuff on creative commons, and seen so many conversations about the virtues of different license. I am a big proponent of the licenses, but I also grow weary about debating one flavor versus another. I don’t criticize the discussions nor choices people make, but the focus on the license irks me.

I was ready to let the thread go by and saw Doug Levin’s


Thanks for being a tweet deleter. Not. But I recall he mad a references to CC0 being not useful for more than data. 

And was like, woah- there is a ton of CC0 content out there, not just data. I know of some intimately

It was a good thread, well as much as twitter threads go, they light up briefly and then go quickly flowing past the attention zone.


In the time I jumped out to check email, I get blasted in the face happily with sweet serendipity. This came in via a flickr mail message:

I’m a member of a 4-piece Blues combo from Barbourville, KY called The Blue Crawdads.

You have a photo listed in the public domain at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/15152251297

We have an EP coming out soon named ‘Take You There’, and I’d like to credit you properly, since we intend to use this photo as part of the cover art. In addition to your name, would you want to have a website link or something along those lines?

Also, we’d like to send you a copy by way of thanks once it actually hits. You can check us out at www.bluecrawdads.com.

Now here is the part I love. The photo the Crawdads are interesting is shared under Creative Commons Public (CC0). The way it is explained 99.8% of the time (I made up that number) is, “you can use it for free and you do not even have to provide attribution.”

That’s minimum license compliance.

And of all the things they could pick, it’s one of my “#bellyontheroad” photos where I lay down pn the ground and take a photo, this one back in Strawberry when they had recently paved the main road through town:

But what the Crawdads did was contact me and offer to provide attribution, which “technically” they do not have to. Plus they are going to share their music with me!

So right away I replied with a “heck yes” response, then checked out their web site and listened in.

If we just focus on licenses and picking through the morsels of what it does and does not do, IMHO we lose sight of the bigger things about sharing our work and acknowledging the work of others as a form of gratitude, not compliance with rules.

And my friend Chris brought up a truth here


which leads my back to a lesson where I got schooled well

Share for gratitude, not for rules and license terms.

This is my third of nine posts for the Ontario Extend 9x9x25 challenge. I did not set out to write it as one, but it fit (plus it’s late in the week!)

Featured Image: My photo that the Blue Crawdads asked how to attribute for their new release–

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Excellent food for thought. I’m interested in more information about the meaning of the licences, but you just saved me from going down that rabbit hole for my own work.

  2. Licenses – deceptively simple in concept, devilishly complicated in the details. I always appreciate when people inform me that they are using my stuff and pointing me to how they are using it. Just seems like the polite thing to do, and something I strive to do as well. Just send a thank you to people for sharing their stuff (comments on Flickr are good for that).

    I suppose if I had really popular content and I was fielding many many calls from people asking if they could use my CC licensed stuff, I might find that somewhat annoying as that is exactly the kind of transactional friction that open licenses were designed to eliminate. But people dropping me a note of gratitude for sharing? I could get and send those emails all day long.

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