So many people out there are so proprietary with their art and their photography. All of my photos on Flickr are Creative Commons licensed — non commercial. They can all be used by people for personal use and by non-profits.
Frequently I get people asking me for permission to use my photography. Usually, even when it’s commercial use I say yes. If it’s a well funded commercial entity sometimes I’ll ask for money for use. Of course with my CC license people don’t even have to ask me to use my stuff for personal use but so many do anyways.
The photo sharing moments that I find most fulfilling are not the ones when a big magazine or web site wants to use my work. The photo sharing moments that I find most fulfilling are the ones when every day people use my work in even more important ways.
I got an email yesterday from Laura Lea on Flickr asking if she could use one of my ladybug photos for a classroom art assignment. She didn’t need to ask me permission of course as this use would fall under the CC license. Even if my work was all rights reserved she still wouldn’t have needed to ask me because this sort of use would certainly fall under fair use. I told her yes of course and to keep up the good work and she sent me back this note this morning:
“Your photo looks so sharp and wonderful in my powerpoint! I’m very glad that you so generously let me use it! I have you footnoted below the slide! May your generosity be given back doubly! I’m now out of a big deadline dilemma. I’m hoping for two more generous people to help me and I’ll have something that my students can use for drawing from and writing in their ladybug research books. I can see my artists now, little six and seven year olds huddled and trying to draw the ladybugs hibernating! I have a few really great artists.”
And what a touching note that is. Especially to someone who has a 7 year old in first grade right now myself.
All the time people send me emails about things like watermarking and protecting their images. They ask for advice on how to keep people from “stealing” their photography. They get bent out of shape when someone uses a photo here or there on the internet.
I don’t worry about these things so much. I find focusing on the positive with my photography more rewarding for me personally than focusing on the negative. And this week I get to think about a bunch of six and seven year olds looking up at a photo of my ladybugs and trying to draw the photo for their ladybug research books. That’s pretty awesome!