Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just ask.

This happened a while ago, and I forgot to mention it. I was informed by a fellow flickr member that one of my photos was being used on the Access Winnipeg blog. I've really got no problem with that, because I'm a Creative Commons user. The thing is, they didn't ask me first. I've stated in my profile quite clearly that I like to be asked's the polite thing to do, don't you think?
When I complained, I got this response from the editor:
Hi Allan,

Ken here, just want to give you a follow up on the status of Access Winnipeg since your photo was one of the photos that were in question.

Your photo has been removed. However, I also noticed that someone had blogged a BDI photo that you took as well. This photo has been removed as well.

We have been working with photography groups and have decided to ONLY use photos with a CREATIVE COMMONS license since having a CREATIVE COMMONS license is granting permission to use the photo.

Unfortunately, your account is causing problems for us, you have a CC license yet you still require permission to use your photos. I fear that this issue might happen again because our bloggers have now been instructed to use CC photos only. Our bloggers do not have the time to ask permission for all the photos we use hence the reason for the CC license photos. When our bloggers get a news article, it needs to be up right away without having time to get permission to use a photo.

I would recommend that you use an All Rights Reserve License with your photos to avoid any future issues. It is more of a license you are looking for - With all rights reserved, your photos will be not detectable by our cc photo search and other flickr users can still ask for your permission to use them.

Synister Media

The thing is, that's not what I'm looking for. What I want, is common courtesy. And I really don't think that's so fucking hard to do. I'll give you an example: NowPublic, an online news site, has used two of my photos, and have actually asked me. Both times, they sent me a form letter that outlined how they were going to be used, inquiring whether I'd cool with that or not. And I've said "yes" each time, because I appreciated the gesture.
Bottom line: you want to use something of mine, just ask. This "fast-paced world" we live in shouldn't be an excuse for a lack of manners. Thank you.
Addendum: However, if I actually KNOW YOU, feel free to tell me after the fact. I know we're cool.

EDIT: Check the comments for a change of heart.


Jeope said...

I go a step further, usually telling people to beat it unless I get compensated. And last month, it actually worked – I'm getting $200 to allow a photo of K. on a swing be used for one day on a company microsite.

Allan L. said...

That rules!
Since I wrote this, the awesome and intelligent Neil Lee responded to my post via Facebook, and I have softened my indignant stance. I figure I just was told about their use of my photos at a bad time and didn't really take in the whole picture as to what a Creative Commons license is all about.
Neil said:
"Don't take this as criticism, but the whole point of CC is to spell out what extended rights you want to give someone who might want to use your work **without requiring them to ask first**.

From the CC FAQ: "Creative Commons licenses attach to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the license."

I totally agree that you're in your rights to have people ask first, but that isn't part of CC :) - so it's impossible for someone who's searching for CC work to know who wants a heads up first and who doesn't. CC is supposed to remove that ambiguity: you can use this work as long as you do this and don't do this.

I think the closest you can get to what you want (a heads-up) is to make sure all work is attributed / credited to you.

Really, you can't argue with that. I use the CC license on everything but my design and illustration stuff, so the least I can do is take the guesswork out of whole thing.