Like many Copyfighters, I've come to rely on Creative Commons over the past few years to fine-tune my copyright. Creative Commons is prominently featured in "Darknet," and they're one of our major partners at Ourmedia.org. (The Guardian UK today calls CC and Ourmedia "cousins"; ah, the joys of familial bonds.)
I thought I'd ask Copyfight readers if you have any insights into two licensing areas.
1) Of all the Creative Commons licenses, none enables the creator of a work to allow her work to be used for commercial purposes but to be compensated for it.
There are several ways to go with this. The copyright owner grants an agent to negotiate on his or her behalf with a third party (such as a cable network or portable device manufacturer). The license provides that the creator is paid a fixed percentage of revenues generated.
A colleague and I approached the good folks at CC, who told us this kind of license wasn't in their game plan. So we're thinking of ways of making this happen outside of the CC framework.
Thoughts? Anyone interested in helping us devise a new kind of license that compensates the copyright holder? I could see rolling this out on Ourmedia in a few months, and thousands of people signing on.
2) On a few occasions, people have asked me whether they have the right to take photographs of individuals or children or teens in public places and publish these photos to the Web. The person or persons in the images are identifiable, but the photographer is doing it for creative, not commercial, purposes.
In some cases, they assign a Creative Commons license that allows derivative works to be made. Other times, they donate the image to the public domain.
It's happening today at sites like Flickr (and maybe Ourmedia, I'm not sure about that). If you tell the amateur photographers at Flickr that you need a release form from the subjects before posting the photos, they'll look at you like you're crazy. That's where the culture is moving.
I asked Creative Commons whether a photographer can assign a CC share-alike license to a batch of photographs if the subject in the photo is clearly identifiable, or whether you always need a release form (which no one except professional photogs uses).
Their answer was that it's a complex issue and not an area they generally get involved in.
I just bought a terrific new digital camera and, like millions of other people, now have the ability to snap amazing, beautiful candids of street scenes, public parks and other places where people hang out in public. My friend has a good lens on his digital camera and has snapped some terrific close-ups of kids playing soccer on a public field. Years ago, they might have appeared as a tiny fuzzy image. Now you can see who they are in full gigapixel glory.
In California, there's a right to control the use of your own images. Other states have other statutes, but most probably don't.
So. Any thoughts or guidelines about when it's permissible to donate images of identifiable people to the public domain or under a sharealike license without obtaining a release?