Free Nessie!


I was contacted last week by someone working at Yahoo! Directory telling me that they were planning to use one of my CreativeCommons licensed photos for their “On the Web” feature for today. They wanted to know how I’d like to be credited.

Today’s feature is on Loch Ness and they wanted to include a photo of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. (If you’re reading this after May 2, 2006, the photo should be available here: On the Web: Loch Ness.)

I can only surmise that most (if not all) of the photos used in the “On the Web” segment are available under CreativeCommons licenses (since they all seem to be on Flickr, and Yahoo! owns Flickr…).

CreativeCommons is a net benefit for everyone:

I admit that it’s mostly the “fifteen minutes of fame” about which I’m currently smiling. But it also makes me excited to know that any one of my photos could be used to create something wonderful. Individuals are encouraged to create something greater than the sum of the parts from CC licensed data. My photo of Nessie, by itself, isn’t particularly noteworthy; but coupled with an informative news item, or even a stirring piece of fiction, it becomes part of something greater. That’s exciting!

For example, I was contacted last year by someone looking to use one of my CreativeCommons licensed photos for a Thanksgiving card. It never panned out, but I was delighted to know that one of my photos caught someone’s interest enough to be thought of for a seasonal greeting card – it was certainly a use for my photo that I would never have considered!

My mom used to give a lot of PowerPoint presentations in her work, and she often struggled to make them engaging. I encouraged her to scrap all the silly clip art and blended-color slides in favor of CC-licensed photos from Flickr (taking care, at my insistence, not to use the ones prohibiting commercial use). It took her about a month to prepare her first presentation using this technique, and she was extremely hesitant as she showed it for the first time. But it was a huge success: real people doing real activities provided a very dramatic background for her speaking points. Mom took the time to watermark each photo with the photographer’s Flickr username for attribution, and closed her presentation with a small statement that all of the photos she used were available online for others to use. She received a lot of wonderful feedback, and she all but abandoned traditional PowerPoint slide templates in favor of Flickr photos. Her presentations, always popular, had earned even more word-of-mouth advertising amongst her peers and the sessions she presented at conferences filled up even faster than before.

CreativeCommons is a net benefit for everyone.

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