Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creative Commons

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.


  1. I love Creative Commons. I've put a similar licence on my own Flickr photos, and on all the ones I've put up for my work at one of the local archives. The latter is more controversial (in heritage circles, anyway), but I want to see those images re-used, as you say - and get them to as wide an audience as possible.

  2. I understand what you are saying....people can be difficult sometimes. I don't care who uses my photos, more power to them.


  3. It's an interesting topic. I don't care if people use my photos, although it would be nice to be notified or acknowledged. Normally when I use stock photos for anything, I go through stock xchange, and they have people that upload all kinds of photos and you set the terms of your own uploaded photos. It's nice for people to let you know though instead of stealing-that's not cool!

  4. Never heard of Creative Commons but I'm going to check it out! I agree that it's not a big deal but if people are being lazy and passing off others' work as their own, then that's pretty uncool. Attribution is better than nothing, permission is the best.

  5. Thanks again Daphne for educating me! I learn a great deal from your blog. I should similarly protect my work but have been too lazy to look into it.

    In the past, I did have content from a website I wrote on hypertufa stolen and used on a TV show's website. It steamed me that they couldn't even be bothered to change the names of my mixes, but I figured I'd posted the recipes for others to use and learn from, so I never did anything about it.

    I feel the same way now, but would like to get credit when it is due!

  6. I think the people most upset are those who do, indeed, make money by writing. I get huffy only when someone disses the Creative Commons licence and they decline to even mention where they are getting the content and are posting it as their own work AND are making money out of it.