If you will glance down at the footer on this page (or follow the “about” or “policies” links) you will see that I have replaced my copyright notices with creative commons ones. I’m hardly a leader in this — as a guy who has worked in book publishing for many years I have had the notion of copyright deeply ingrained. And there remain a few pieces, like my article on Gutenberg and the Koreans for example, that need to remain under copyright because of publishing arrangements.
But as a blogger I know that people want and need materials they can use readily and with a minimum of fuss. If I want this for myself, why should I deny it to others? Information, it is said, wants to be free, and I don’t want to be the one to enslave it.
Creative Commons is especially helpful when you need an image to accompany something you’re writing about. Flickr makes this wonderfully easy. By going to http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ you can search for photos that have been uploaded with a CC license. As a photo user I would always start there and only go through the hassle of contacting owners of copywrited photos if really necessary. As you can see from the Flickr CC search page, CC licenses have several flavors:
- Attribution License
- Attribution-NoDerivs License
- Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License
- Attribution-NonCommercial License
- Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
- Attribution-ShareAlike License
I’m not sure which is best — there are arguments for each, I suppose — but I chose Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, in part because this was the most popular among Flickr users, so it’s probably where the majority of the searches will occur. (Is this the best choice? Let me know your thoughts.)
There are a few websites that automate Flickr CC searches, including:
Behold seems to apply some kind of quality filter to search results. FlickCC lets you browse through thumbnails, at 36 to the page. A screenshot from this site is shown above.
There is also a WordPress plugin called PhotoDropper that lets you search for Flickr CC photos from within the WordPress dashboard. Once a photo is selected it will automatically insert the photo along with any required credit. Cool, but I have not installed it because it sounds like your ability to format the results is limited.
Finally, I would like to see the CC logo — which looks like a copyright symbol but with two cees rather than one — become a standard glyph in fontsets.
- Creative Commons homepage
- Creative Commons at Wikipedia
- Flickr Create Commons search page
- FlickrCC search
- Behold search
- PhotoDropper WordPress plugin
- All Hail Creative Commons (2002 news article)
- Lawrence Lessig blog
- Is copyright corroding our society? (Lessig video)
- Lawrence Lessig for Congress buzz
- Sullivan on Lessig