Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Shout Out AND an Education: All About Creative Commons

I've got to give a shout out. (People still give those right?  The shout-outs?  And people still poke on The Facebook, yes?  Seriously, don't poke me.  It annoys the hell out of me.)

In trying to get this blog off the ground, I've had to become fluent in the language of "finding free shit to put on my site."  For me, this mainly refers to images.  While it's pretty easy to con people into giving you free written content (I speak as one willingly conned due to my desire to garner more page views and ego fodder by almost any means necessary), I prefer to do the whole written content thing myself.  I mean, let's face it, that's pretty much all this blog has going for it, my *sparkling* wit.

Anywho, Creative Commons images are the absolute SHIT.  (Please note the "the."  They are not shit--well, I'm sure some of them are, but in general they are THE shit.)  And while some people are big fans of wikicommons or creativecommons.org, Flickr has stolen my heart.  Almost all the beautiful images you see on my blog are from this magical land of randomness.  And trust me, random is not an understatement.

Let's start by searching for something simple.  Oh, I don't know, how about Olan Mills.

First, you get the pretty typical stuff.

My folks have a picture with this SAME BACKGROUND.  Source.

We are going to burn this "library" and these matching
outfits to the damn ground.  

Then you get the clever parodies.

I'm not going to lie, I totally want to do something like this now. Source.

Aaaaand then you get the might-be-clever-might-be-fucking-creepy furry-ish parodies.

"Doelan Mills" Source. (That's not my wit; that is its actual title)

Let's try another term.  Why not a nod to my long, lost academic focus? "Victorian."

You'd expect to find lovely pictures of houses, and cosplayers, or even actual Victorian images like this:

Control yourself ladies . . . and lads. Source.

Some weird steam-punkery could be expected as well . . .

Is that a bike reflector?  Source.

Aaaaaaaaaaand then there are these.

That's a ring, folks.  Source.
I really don't know how gagged, bagged,
and chained Barbie is "Victorian."
There is no  merry on this go-round,
just rabid horses.

I think you get the general idea of the type of fun (horrific and otherwise) you can have with Flickr.  Sure, you can always go buy images, but to me that just screams lack of creativity, or, you know, you're trying to be all "professional".

"Professional" from Flickr.  (Also, if my husband and I were to both
say "I want that ass," we'd mean very different things.)

I've become so enamored with the Creative Commons License, that I've decided any of my personal pictures I post online that are NOT of specific people (I don't want my son to end up on some asshole's blog . . .) are going under the Creative Commons moniker.

Please, don't thank me; I just want to help mankind.

However, I'm not completely beneficent, because I don't intend to license any of my work for commercial purposes.  You see, the beauty of Creative Commons is that it has options.  Lots of lovely options.  (Okay, it currently has six options, but that's still a nice amount.)

I will not be explaining ALL of these circles.  Source.

The basic, no frills Creative Commons license is Attribution (the circle that has a little human symbol in it).  This means you're allowing people to use your image for whatever the hell they want (whether it be a personal blog or an ad campaign for the latest Church of Satan franchise opening up in your neighborhood) as long as they attribute the image to you.  They can even take your image and mess with it (creating a "derivative" work).  You can specify the manner in which the image should be attributed to you, but LOTS of people on Flickr don't, which is why most of my photos  have a hyperlinked "Source" at the end of the caption (the one below is an exception I found just for you).

This image requires attribution only, which means I'm going to go all FotoFlexer
on its ass in a minute.
Photo by Ed Schipul

There are three "add-ons" you can combine with Attribution--they're all technically licenses themselves, but you never see them without Attribution anymore, so I'm dubbing them add-ons.

The first one is "NoDerivs" (the circle with an equal sign in it; NO THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE IMAGES SUPPORT THE HRC.  Though for the record, I do).  NoDeriv(ative)s means that while you're allowing people to use the image, they CANNOT change it.  If someone wants to use your image, he or she has to use it AS IS.  You'd use the NoDerivs option if, for instance, you didn't want anyone doing THIS to your image:

Original photo by Ed Schipul.  IMPROVEMENTS BY ME & FOTOFLEXER

The next add-on is "NonCommercial."  If you guessed that it's the slashed circle with a monetary symbol inside it, congratulations!  (You do realize that $ is not the only monetary symbol in that Creative Commons logo further up, right?  RIGHT?  Or are you still trying to pay in Francs and Lira and Deutsch Marks when you "go abroad"?)

Don't forget your steamer trunk, you anachronistic pansy.  Source.

NonCommercial means exactly that; people cannot use this image for commercial purposes.  Essentially, they can't use it to make money in any way, shape, or form. Now, in my infinite wisdom and not being a lawyer, law student, or someone who understands Latin-ness, I only use NonCommercial licensed photos on my personal blog (the one you're reading).  I have absolutely no intention of putting ads on here or using this site in a commercial manner ( BUY MY SHIT!  Oh wait, I have no shit for you to buy.  Lame.)  Now if I were writing a post for a site that DOES allow ads or does make any sort of profit, I would not use any NonCommercial licensed images.

No NonCommercial licenses for this guy.  Commercialism is part of his name, 
along with electronics and . . . bicycles. Source

The final "add-on" is the most hippy-dippy-make-love-not-war-sit-in-a-circle-singing-Kumbaya-karma-chameleon  add-on of them all: the ShareAlike.  The ShareAlike is the  "I'm not going to be an asshole about sharing, but I'm not going to let YOU be an asshole either . . . asshole" add-on.  Basically, if someone snags an image that he's allowed to change, and he changes it and posts it, HE HAS TO POST IT WITH THE SAME LICENSES.

Yes, I'd have to allow someone to change my FotoFlexer masterpiece up there.

Oh dear God, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? And why is there a great eye wreathed
 in flame? 
Original photo by Ed Schipul. First derivative by The Humble Narcissist.

So yeah, that's your Creative Commons education.  AND IT WAS FREE.

If you ever need free photos for whatever half-baked scheme you're planning to spring on the world THIS week, give Creative Commons a try.  It beats the hell out of Clip-Art.

Though Clip-Art does have its place as
passiveagressivenotes.com fodder.

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