A short while ago I went through all of the images I've posted on flickr and, with a few exceptions, I have set the license to Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial. The one exception being any photos with where people are recognizable because I feel like they should have a say in how their image is used.
What is this Creative Commons?
The short answer is that it's an alternative license to copyright that gives me more options in how my work is used and not used. My feeble attempts at further describing this would only confuse. Visit the creative commons site and read about what it is.
Ever since I started shooting a lot of photography and posting it I've been asked what I will be doing with it. Most of the time the answer is "I don't know." because I really don't. For a short while I thought I might sell the prints and I'm still not sure that I won't. But the simple answer is that I have a lot of photos out there, photos that made me very happy to take. After I post them, they just sit there, sometimes one or two people might browse through them but I feel like most of the time they are going stale. So if someone can find a use for them or finds happiness in using them in their work I don't see how I can deny that. I have imposed two limits on the use, attribution and noncommercial. The attribution limitation requires that you give mention that the original art came from me, this is simply a selfish need to be acknowledged for my photo. The second, noncommercial, was put in there for the same reason I don't enter most photo contests. I would like to control what my art is being used to sell so that myself and my work is not used to represent something I don't support. Mostly what I hope is that these photos will find more life in someone's creative hands.
Doesn't that limit your options?
No. Should I choose to start selling any of these works it is completely within my rights to do so still.
What if Brand X comes knocking with a briefcase full of cash?
Part of creative commons is that I can waive any limitation for a single entity if I so choose, they only have to ask. So if I believe in Brand X or their product I can waive the noncommercial component of the license just for them.
The world of media and rights continues to get more and more complicated. Using the creative commons licensing allows me to easily tell people what I have no problems with and leaves me the option of taking that further if I so choose. If you've got questions about creative commons, visit their site. If you've got questions for me that I didn't answer leave a comment below.