When you upload a photo to Flickr, or another photo sharing site, there is the inherent risk of having your photo ‘stolen’. By that, I mean that some nefarious character can come along and use your image elsewhere without your permission. My solution to this problem? Give everyone permission, automatically, to use your photos. For free.
It’s as simple as this, as I see it. If you absolutely don’t want your photo used by anyone else, then don’t upload it to the internet. Full stop. If you must upload it, but still really don’t want it used, then plaster it with ugly watermarks and upload a small resolution file. That’s a pretty good way of getting your photos ignored. Alternatively you can upload your photos and mark them all as private, to stop people seeing them.
The point of photo sharing sites is to….well….share your photos. Make them visible. Let people see them. As many people as possible. A CC license means that people can take your photos, and depending upon the conditions of the license, use them. One of the main conditions is that they give the photographer credit with a link to the original image.
I appreciate that professional photographers won’t agree with me, but then this post isn’t aimed at them. I’m referring to all the hobby photographers who get oh so possessive over their shots. Who aren’t going to earn anything from their hobby, or at least nothing much. There is always the option within CC of denying use of your photos for commercial use. This is the option I go for, although I always permit use, for free, if I’m asked. As I result, my photos have been used on blogs and sites all over the net, which means more people are seeing them, and more people are coming through to my Flickr account.
Everyday I scour Flickr’s Explore, using Fluidr, looking for a cool photo to upload to my Posterous blog, Imagen. It’s simply a collection, one a day, of great photos that have CC licenses rather than all Rights Reserved. The photo below was taken by Fenanov, and I posted it on Imagen a couple of weeks ago, perfectly legally, thanks to the CC license he (or she) uses. So far 544 people have viewed my post, which links directly to the original image. That’s 544 people who have seen and enjoyed Fenanov’s excellent photo that otherwise would probably never have come across it.
So what’s your line of thought? To share or to hide?