Why I Changed the Licensing of My Photos on Flickr to Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

I just got through changing almost all of my 1200+ photos on Flickr from an all rights reserved license (the default) to the CC BY-NC-SA license. That is, Attribution (BY), Non-Commercial (NC), and Share Alike (SA). Breaking that down, this quite simply means:

  1. Attribution: If you use my work, you must attribute it to me.
  2. Non-Commercial: My work may not be used for commercial purposes.
  3. Share Alike: If you create a derivative work based on my work, you must release that under this or a similar license.

Why on earth would I simply give my work away like this? My primary motivation is exposure. I feel that releasing my works like this will bring more attention to my work. Plain and simple. I’ve been inspired by artists like Nina Paley and musicians who share their music on sites like Jamendo — all under Creative Commons licensing.

I chose this particular license because I feel it is the most fair to all parties involved. For example, I do not collect model releases from any of my subjects. This would be quite difficult in situations such as the Des Moines Farmers’ Market or shooting on the streets of places like San Francisco. Therefore, the Non-Commercial clause is pretty much required.

Attribution to me is the very least anyone can do to repay me for my work, and it is all I ask from these photos I present on Flickr and this blog.

Share Alike, while a restriction on the freedom to use these works, is also a small price to pay for remixing my works and creating your own from them. Think of it as paying it forward. I gave freely of my work, so you must do the same.

Finally, my intention of seeking attention is without ambition. I’m simply sharing my work and hoping for a greater audience.