I've noticed in the gardening blog world that people are so afraid of having their work copied. Over the last year that I've been reading gardening blogs I've found outraged posts about finding one of their photos elsewhere on the web. Or someone has copied some of the text.
My question is "Does it matter?". Is it hurting you? Most of us gardening bloggers don't make money on our work, so it isn't taking money out of our pockets. We do it for the joy of it. We do it to connect with the other gardeners out in the world.
If someone uses one of our photos, it should not be an issue to us. In fact we ought to want them to use our photo and link back to us. We ought to want them to quote our blog and link back to us. The attribution to us is what we really want. We want to be noticed. What we don't want is to languish in some strange circle of hell where you write and no one listens, where we scream to be heard, but we are surrounded by an empty wasteland.
Luckily there is a middle ground between copyright and public domain. It is Creative Commons. Creative Commons even has degrees of rights that you can keep. Personally I'm going for the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. What does that mean? Well if you use my work you must attribute it to me. You can't use it commercially, or put another way, if you make money on it, I had better be making money on it too. You can build upon it if you like and change it, but you have to pass it along with the same license.
I love the idea of Creative Commons. I first found out about it years ago from Cory Doctorow. He is a science fiction author who publishes all his books online with a Creative Commons license. He writes why he does this. Just scroll down past the "What's Little Brother About" section to find it. Or read that section too. It is about his latest book which is fabulous and very scary. He claims it is a young adult book, but I'd recommend it for adults too.