Today we’re extremely pleased to announce that Flickr now allows its users to share images under CC0, Creative Commons’ international public domain dedication. Flickr also announced they will allow users to share work in the public domain using our Public Domain Mark (PDM). Flickr is the largest repository of CC-licensed photos on the web, and CC0 and the Public Domain Mark will give creators even more ways to share their works and those in the public domain to expand the commons.
Why is this big news for Flickr and Creative Commons? CC0 maximizes the potential creative use of works by dedicating them, without restrictions, to the commons. By doing so, creators enable others to freely and without condition build upon those works in ways that advance science, education, scholarship, and literature, sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways.
Many Creative Commons photographers on Flickr have been asking for CC0. With this announcement Flickr users will be able to choose from among our six standard licenses, our public domain dedication, and they will also be able to mark others’ works that are in the public domain. Adding CC0 and PDM to Flickr is an unprecedented win for the commons and for free creativity and knowledge on the internet.
(CRS-5 Falcon 9 rocket / SpaceX / CC0)
The topic of awesome public domain and CC0 imagery was in the news about a week ago when SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk announced that all of SpaceX’s incredible photographs are dedicated to the worldwide public domain. SpaceX will be moving all of their images on Flickr to CC0. Wikimedians have also helped SpaceX to declare a gallery of images as CC0 on Wikimedia Commons.
For years, galleries, museums, and others to whom the the public has entrusted important cultural heritage works have leveraged CC0 as an internationally-recognized way to share digitized copies of works and the metadata that enables search. Europeana now boasts no fewer than 26,000 images under CC0, as well as more than 3.6 million works marked as public domain worldwide using our Public Domain Mark. The availability of CC0 as a means for digitizers of works in the public domain to eliminate any “thin” copyright on public domain works they digitize, or for individuals who wish to eliminate their own copyright, allows the global public to freely create and publish the next great thing. And the availability of the Public Domain Mark to signal a work is globally free of copyright restrictions further empowers creators to stand on the shoulders of those who created before them.
What’s the difference?
Using CC0, a creator enables the public to freely reuse and remix a work without limitation. This is because the author/creator waives all conditions including attribution (although citation is supported) and encourages others to reuse the work in any way, including commercially. We know that Creative Commons supporters, including many photographers in the Flickr community, have been seeking the ability to use CC0 on Flickr since it was was published almost exactly 6 years ago today. This also offers remixers clear and simple terms when seeking out a work to build upon. Many “no known copyright” images are too uncertain to build upon, while CC0 offers a clear dedication to free use and re-use. Once fully implemented, users will be able to move some or all of their works on Flickr to CC0.
The Public Domain Mark is used to denote works out of copyright or in the worldwide public domain. Developed with reference to “no known copyright” statements adopted by many leading cultural heritage institutions, including contributors to Flickr Commons, the PDM is the only mark of its kind, and the only widely-adopted and globally accepted mark that communicates a work’s public domain status worldwide.
We are very happy to recognize Flickr’s longstanding commitment to the Creative Commons licenses, their community of CC photographers/videographers, and to the public good that is our shared commons and heritage.
Incorporating CC0 and PDM into Flickr has been a long term wish of ours, and we’re happy to see it happen today. There were many who helped along the way, but special thanks to CC General Counsel Diane Peters and also to Jane Park, who now leads CC’s platform engagement team.
We anticipate that Flickr’s stewardship of CC-licensed content and public domain materials will continue to grow now that users can take advantage of the full breadth of our legal tools.1 Comment »
A few days ago, Ryan Singel wrote a thought-provoking piece for Wired, suggesting that users pressure Facebook — and, by extension, its recent acquisition Instagram — to adopt Creative Commons licensing options.
Creative Commons embodied an ethos of sharing that went beyond just show-and-tell. It’s been a vital part of sharing on the net, which has given all of us access to no-cost printing presses in the form of blogs; cheap ways to create, edit, and share videos and photos; and democratized distribution channels such as YouTube and Reddit.
[…] Facebook is about Facebook. Sharing to them means sharing … on Facebook. Connecting with other people means connecting with other people … on Facebook. Like the old joke about fortune cookies, you have to append “on Facebook” to get the real meaning.
Instagram is still young, so perhaps it can buck its corporate master. But it’s yet to show a commitment to doing right by users and the public, and the recent decision to prevent Twitter users from seeing Instagram photos inside Twitter makes it highly unlikely the company considers being part of a larger sharing culture a priority.
Some of these problems are less pressing if the photo is intended to be public, and some users may actually want the opportunity for their photos to get wide spread fame and fortune. For those users, the better way forward is enabling users to easily license their photos with Creative Commons.
Other photo services offer revenue sharing with their users. For example, Yahoo’s Flickr not only offers the ability to mark photos with a Creative Commons license, but also has an opt-in program with Getty Images for users who want to commercialize the photos. While imperfect (Getty requires exclusive rights, and is incompatible with CC licenses), there is something to the notion of sharing the revenue with the user.
Alyson Shontell at Business Insider takes the debate a step further, with the provocative suggestion that Instagram should require its users to license their photos under CC by default:
Of course, this will enrage a lot of people. Facebook has been reprimanded for pushing privacy boundaries too far, and not all Instagram users may feel comfortable sharing their photos with the world.
But really, they already are. This just puts a legal framework around that sharing.
In all the flurry of attention, there’s one important point to keep in mind: Creative Commons licenses don’t cancel out user agreements. That is, when you upload media to Flickr or YouTube, it’s subject to the terms you agreed to when you signed up for those services, regardless of whether you license it under CC.
To put it a different way, when I upload a video to YouTube and license it CC BY, I’m entering two different agreements at once: one with YouTube (see 6. Your Content and Conduct) and one with any potential user via the CC license. It’s a good idea to be conscious about the agreements you’re making when you use any online service. There have even been various projects over the years to make terms of service and privacy policies as easy to read and understand as CC license deeds.
Of course, that’s not to say that there’s no value in media platforms adopting CC licensing natively. Indeed, platforms are where we’ve seen the most rapid uptake in CC adoption and the most potential for reuse. Have you ever uploaded a photo to Flickr and seen it show up on a blog post days or years later? That quick, painless reuse is only possible because Flickr makes it easy to search and sort photos by CC license. Users on other sites — including both Facebook and Instagram — sometimes add CC license info to their profiles manually. That’s better than nothing, but without a consistent, platform-wide implementation, finding those CC-licensed uploads can be very difficult.
And if the discussions over the past few days have shown anything, it’s that the demand exists for native CC implementation in Instagram. i-am-cc.org, the third-party archive of CC-licensed Instagram shots, has grown to nearly 5000 users in just a few months. A search for CC-licensed Instagram photos published on Flickr yields 167,000 results. The popularity of these solutions demonstrates that many Instagram users are willing to jump through a few hoops to share their photos under CC.
For our recent tenth anniversary celebrations, we profiled several media platforms that support CC licensing. Nearly all of the people we talked to said that user demand was a major factor in their decisions to use CC. We would be thrilled if Facebook and Instagram decided to start supporting CC licensing, but ultimately, your voice matters more than ours does.Comments Off on Should Instagram Adopt CC Licensing?
The first website CC board member Caterina Fake ever made was a fan page for Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov, her favorite writer. “When I first went online around 1993-1994, every site was just something people had just put up–pictures of their cat, or a marble collection, or Bob Dylan discography. It was just strangers making cool stuff and sharing it online. The Internet was premised on this culture of generosity.”
But as the web grew, so did the rules about copyright and ownership of content. And somewhere along the way, this culture of generosity got lost in lockdown. That’s why, within six months of co-founding Flickr in 2004, Fake made sure that users could upload their photos to her rapidly expanding photo-sharing site with CC licenses. “Flickr is very much a platform for this culture of generosity to take place,” she says. “Creators should be able to choose to make their work available. If they have no interest in the ridiculous restrictions copyright is imposing on people, that should be okay.”
Today, Flickr has over 167 million CC-licensed photos, making it one of the largest repositories of freely shareable images in the world.
In the summer of 2009, Fake started Hunch, a website that builds a “taste graph” of the Internet. Users respond to questions like: “Do you like your sandwich cut vertically or horizontally?” and “When flying, do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat?” The data collected goes towards finding random correlations on web users and providing recommendations on magazines,TV shows, and books. It’s all part of what Fake is most passionate about, what she calls participatory media.
Fake has been a supporter of sharing creative content from very early on. Before she was even thinking about founding successful web companies, Fake was a painter, sculptor, and writer. “I’m a big proponent of people having the ability to express themselves and be part of a culture that supports creative work,” she says. “I believe everyone who wants to make a living off their work should be more than welcome to do so. And those who do not should also have the ability not to be constrained by copyright.”
Help build a culture of generosity on the web by donating to Creative Commons today.Comments Off on Meet our board members: Caterina Fake
Slightly less than a year ago the count of CC-licensed images at Flickr surpassed 100 million. Over 35 million have been added since then. Now is a good time to look at changes over the last four years (for which we have data), in particular changes in the distribution of licenses used. We’ve heard many anecdotes about photographers switching to more liberal licensing after getting comfortable with and experiencing the benefits of limited sharing, and wanting more. Are these anecdotes borne out in aggregate?
First, the overwhelming trend is simply more CC-licensed images — an increase from 10 million to 135 million over four years — and we amusingly said 5 years ago that Flickr’s CC area had “gone way beyond our expectations” with 1.5 million licensed images.
The following table summarizes changes in CC licensed images over the past four years. With over 10-fold growth, use of all licenses have increased greatly. However, the distribution has also changed, though slowly. Four years ago 78% of CC-licensed images on Flickr were not pre-cleared for commercial use. This has declined by close to 5 percentage points.
|license||2006-03-17||2010-02-25||2006-03-17||2010-02-25||% point change|
Another way to look at change in license distribution is the share of licenses that permit both commercial use and derivative works — licenses that meet the requirements of the definition of free cultural works, a test used, for example, by Wikimedia Commons, the image and other media repository for Wikipedia. The graph below shows this share over the past four years.
A slightly different approach which reveals the same overall trend is to rank licenses according to the permissions they grant and assign an overall “freedom score” based on the mix of licenses used (a higher score means more permissions are granted on average). This approach was developed by Giorgos Cheliotis in a paper looking at the adoption CC ported jurisdiction licenses (pdf). The following graph shows the “freedom score” of the mix of licenses used at Flickr over the past four years.
What are the underlying causes of these trends? The CC licensing interface on Flickr has not changed significantly, presumably borne out by steady growth of CC licensed images over the years. What is causing the slow increase in permissiveness of those posting images on Flickr under CC licenses? Even more curiously, what caused their temporary decrease in permissiveness from the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2007?
Perhaps the steady increase in permissiveness since then has something to do with Wikimedia Commons’ success and its coming to the attention of photographers as an important publicity mechanism — recalling that Wikimedia Commons requires liberal licensing. However, this is mere conjecture. Can you think of other possible causes and more importantly means to analyze the impact of possible causes?
While the data for CC adoption on the web at large is much less certain than that for a single site such as Flickr, some indicate that both total use and permissiveness have increased much more on the web at large than on Flickr alone. Look for a post on this in the next month.
Even more interesting questions about CC adoption and impact have barely been tapped — for example, differential adoption across fields and cultures, and levels and forms of and trends in reuse. Tentative answers would be incredibly interesting and in some cases would be incredibly valuable in demonstrating economic impact, e.g., reuse of Open Educational Resources.
This research was assisted by a grant from the Necessary Knowledge for a Democratic Public Sphere Program of the Social Science Research Council with funds provided by the Ford Foundation.5 Comments »
Yesterday, Bing Maps pointed out a new application—Streetside Photos—that it added to its spatial search. Streetside Photos pulls CC licensed images from Flickr to use them in a transformative way—as part of mapping tools that help you navigate the world on different visual levels. Chris at Bing Maps says it best,
“So, you have all these killer photos of different cities around the world just sitting on some hard drive or server and the best you can do with them is send them to friends as is, right? Isn’t it funny that the photos you tend to zip through are the ones with no people in them, but when you were there man it was a cool shot that you just HAD to capture? Well, we’re giving those photos some love (and context) with our latest mash-in to the Bing Maps Application Gallery. We’ve just rolled out a new application that is currently in a tech preview phase that pulls photos from Flickr®, associates them with Bing Maps Streetside photos and then overlays them by stretching the photo to form fit where in the world it belongs. The new application called Streetside Photos is currently available in Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver (Canada) – (hello, Olympics!!) to view your Flickr photos in a whole new way.”
Bing Maps is a great example of leveraging what CC licenses enable—in this case the ability to reuse and repurpose photos in creative ways that also serve a functional purpose, to better inform people about the cultural landscape of a place. Who doesn’t want to see the awesome orange skeleton from a past Carnaval in SF?1 Comment »
Regarding openness and sharing, the Brooklyn Museum is an exemplary institution. They are major contributors to The Commons on Flickr, license their online image collection under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license license, provide API access to this collection, and recently ran a CC-licensed remix contest with Blondie‘s Chris Stein. Needless to say, we were eager to catch up with Shelley Bernstein, Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, and learn more about how they are using our licenses to open up their catalog of amazing work, shaping the role museums play in a digital age in the process.
Can you give our readers some background on your role at the Brooklyn Museum? BM’s Twitter page describes you as the “Museum’s Chief Geek” – what does that entail?
Officially, I’m the Brooklyn Museum’s Chief of Technology, which means I work with a team of folks here to manage the Brooklyn Museum’s web presence, our gallery technology, and our computer network.
BM’s digital stamp is impressive – an active blog, social network presence, and the 1stfans program in particular all point to an organization that uses technology to better engage its community. What is the benefit, from your end, to this sort of interaction?
A big part of the Brooklyn Museum’s mission is about growing community and visitor experience, so much of what we do online closely ties into that. The blog, the social networking and 1stfans all help put a personal face on the institution and, we hope, allow visitors a chance to see what goes on here direct from staff and interact with us on a very personal level. This kind of engagement grows a more natural relationship with our constituents and one that we hope makes the institution very accessible.
BM licenses all of its images under a CC Attribution-NonCommerical license. Why did you choose this license and what has the experience been like? Have there been any interesting cases of re-use?
Richard Giles, a social media specialist in Australia who frequently posts and CC licenses photos on Flickr, received a threatening letter from the International Olympic Committee last week, mentioning a set of photos he had taken at the 2008 games in Beijing.
Giles posted a rundown of the story so far on his blog. It is not clear the situation is resolved yet, and initially there was confusion about which photos or licenses are at issue, but there are many worthwhile posts about it to check out, including these:
- Olympics threaten photographer by Mathias Klang (of CC Sweden), who points out in passing that there are now over 120 million CC licensed photos on Flickr — a 20% increase in 6 months.
- Go To The Olympics? Take Photos? Put Them On Flickr? Await Olympic Committee Legal Threat Letter on Techdirt by Mike Masnick.
- International Olympic Committee Goes Copyright (& Trademark) Crazy on The Moderate Voice by Joe Windish.
- Wikipedia and Olympics Committee heading for collision? by Sage Ross, who points out that Giles’ photo(s) likely came to the attention of the IOC indirectly via English Wikipedia, where one of Giles’ photos is currently used in the Usain Bolt article.
Regarding Ross’ post, of course the UK merchant that used the photo in an advertisement that eventually attracted the IOC’s notice may have discovered the photo directly on Flickr as well. In either case, the value of moving to a more liberal license if you want your works to spread is highlighted — Giles’ Usain Bolt photo is under CC Attribution-ShareAlike, while his other Beijing photos are under CC Attribution-NonCommercial.
Whatever the resolution of this particular dispute, there’s no question that the IOC’s attempt to control how photographers use their own photos is symptomatic of the permission culture and tragedy of the anticommons we are facing. Creative Commons can’t directly influence the IOC’s policies, but we’re creating an alternative to ensure a non-gridlocked future of creativity and innovation, an alternative that offers benefits to those who participate in the commons now, and whose successes will change minds. Please support us — we’re in the midst of our 2009 campaign to raise $500,000 to fund this work.
The photo at the top of this post by Richard Giles is not of the Olympics, but does look fun. Note that even such an innocuous photo could be under threat as we move in the direction of a permission economy — building owners attempt to control public photography, why not balloon owners or designers? Give now. ☺5 Comments »
Yesterday the Register posted an article by Charles Eicher on the topic of copyfraud — asserting copyright where it doesn’t exist, or asserting more restrictions than copyright grants. A very important topic — true copyfraud diminishes the commons, either in the sense of propertizing the public domain, or effectively reducing the scope of uses not restricted by copyright.
Unfortunately, the article merely uses this interesting and important topic as a jumping off point for hyperbole. On the public domain and copyfraud, comments on the article offer far more insight than the article itself.
Eicher has in the past called advocates of Creative Commons “freetards”. Apparently he finds name calling more interesting than research, for on the third page of his copyfraud article he demonstrates willful ignorance on the topic of Creative Commons:
Now Creative Commons seeks expanded authority to administer the Public Domain, by issuing a “Creative Commons Public Domain License,” as if it was a sublicense of its own invention. Creative Commons is trying to expand its licensing authority over not just newly created works, but all public domain works.
Creative Commons does not have any “authority to administer” the public domain, whatever that means. Our public domain tools are not licenses — there is no “Creative Commons Public Domain License”. CC0 is a waiver that allows a copyright holder, to the extent possible, to release all restrictions on a copyrighted work worldwide. The Public Domain Certification facilitates clearly marking works already in the public domain as such. We also don’t have “licensing authority” over newly created works. All of our tools are voluntary and have an over-arching goal of expanding the commons, more specifically the public domain in the case of CC0 (as much as possible) and the Public Domain Certification (the effective public domain, by making existing public domain works more clearly marked, including with metadata, making them more available and discoverable).
Public domain licensing is still not available to any Flickr user. This forces everyone, from individuals to large public institutions, to contribute their works to the “Flickr Commons” under a CC license, even if the works are clearly in the public domain. Flicker is enacting a blatant power grab on behalf of Creative Commons. They are establishing an extra-legal licensing monopoly, imposing an illegal copyright license structure on free works. And this is the most pernicious effect of copyfraud: it exploits the public domain to aggregate monopoly power for private interests.
Except for the first sentence (regarding which, Creative Commons encourages Flickr to offer a public domain option for all users) all of the above paragraph is blatantly false. Images part of Flickr Commons are not under any CC license. The site’s easily accessible usage statement says No known copyright restrictions. Ideally the site might use a more affirmative public domain assertion, but it is impossible to characterize the statement as a CC license or as copyfraud.1 Comment »
This post is written and translated by Paul Keller of CC Netherlands, first posted in Dutch on the CC Netherlands blog earlier today. Regarding one of the quotes below, to be clear, note CC licenses do not override fair use.
Adam Curry wins again!
by Paul Keller
In 2006 Adam Curry initiated and won the first ever lawsuit centering around the use of a Creative Commons licensed work (English). Back then the Dutch gossip-mag ‘weekend’ had published photos from Curry’s flickr account without asking Curry for permission and the Amsterdam court of first instance decided that this use was explicitly prohibited by the non-commercial condition of the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license that Curry uses for his Flickr pictures.
One would assume that other gossip-mags would learn from this and refrain from using photos from Adam’s Flickr stream, but exactly that happened 2 weeks ago when ‘Privé‘ used another picture to illustrate an article without Adam permission. As in the previous case Adam immediately reacted, this time by demanding that the publisher of Privé pay him a compensation for the unauthorized use or he would take them to court. Back then Adam wrote:
Instead of taking them directly to court I added twist this time, and gave them the option of paying 5000 euros directly to the War Child Foundation and my legal costs. Failure to comply by June 2nd and I will take them to court. It’s national news, lead story on the 6:30 news and all that good stuff :)
According to a public response from the magazine’s editor, they will ‘see me in court’ as they believe they have ‘fair use’ rights because of the picture’s ‘news value’. Pretty funny coming from a gossip rag.
While the deadline set by Curry passed without an official reaction from Privé it turns out that the defiant reaction form the magazines editor was not worth the paper it was printed on. Today Adam received a mail from from his lawyers indicating that Privé has settled along the terms provided by Curry in order to avoid the court hearing that was scheduled for the 23rd of June [translation from Dutch original by Creative Commons Netherlands]:
the conflict between Telegraaf Tijdschriften Groep (“TTG”), the publishers of among others Privé and yourself has been settled in your favor.
TTG wil pay you an amount of compensation and TTG has signed a declaration (backed up by a penalty) that in the future they will no more infringe on copyrights held by Adam Curry in photos published by him on www.flickr.com. You will donate the compensation received to Warchild and STOP AIDS NOW!.
Given the above, the court hearing scheduled for the 23rd of july will not take place.
Creative Commons congratulates Adam Curry with this victory that once again illustrates that when necessary the Creative Commons licenses offer enough legal protection against unauthorized used of the licensed works. Thanks again Adam!3 Comments »
We Have Band, and electro-pop act from London, recently released a great new video for their single You Came Out in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy. The video is stop frame animated and composed of 4,816 still images, all of which are CC BY-SA licensed and available on We Have Band’s flickr page. This allows fans of the band the ability to reanimate the video and reuse the images as long as they attribute We Have Band and share derivative works under the same license.
Find out more about the single at the band’s mysapce blog, including ordering info.2 Comments »