The Power of the Commons

Creative Commons Moon
\
[Creative Commons
Moon](http://flickr.com/photos/denverjeffrey/301014978/) by Jeffrey
Beall

In the past two days, people have e-mailed me to ask if they could use
photos of mine for:

  • A short-run calendar (Downtown Boston At
    Night
    )
  • An illusion as part of a
    mentalists’ stage
    show. (not sure why he wants to use this
    one
    , but he does)\
    In the past, people have asked to use my photos in:
  • a history textbook (it
    might have been a different one)
  • several websites
  • a cookbook (he wanted to use a couple of my beach
    pictures
    )
  • presentations
  • several news stories on Now Public\
    In every response I send, this is pretty much what I say:\
    bq. Of course you can use my photos in insert use here. All my
    photos are licensed under Creative
    Commons
    , so as long as you provide
    attribution and your work is also licensed under Creative Commons,
    then you’re free to use any of my photos however you want.\
    I’m surprised how many people that surprises, but I probably
    shouldn’t be. Creative Commons is a
    great tool for creative people to share their works while
    maintaining some control over how they’re used. I love that
    Flickr allows people to choose from several
    different licenses and displays it alongside every photo. They were
    a big influence on our choice to make all the stories on
    ficlets Creative Commons licensed as well.\
    Now, when people don’t want to release their work under the same
    license as my photos, we can talk. And, in the case of the calendar,
    I sold my first photo! They’re actually paying me to use that
    picture, which I think is crazy (awesome, that is). I’m not a
    professional by any stretch, and that picture was taken with my
    crappy old Kodak point and shoot. Honestly, I think they should use
    one of my aerial Boston
    shots
    ,
    but whatever.\
    So, thank you, Creative Commons for
    giving me an easy way to license my content that encourages sharing,
    and thank you Flickr for giving me an easy way
    to share my photos. You’re awesome!

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