So, recently I’m noticing a deterioration in observing copyright law, or even attribution to be more specific. Copyright law is definitely going to be rewritten in our lifetime (for worse, not better) . The digital revolution of effortlessly reproducing content is driving this need to rewrite it. I’m not really talking about downloading music here. When you download a song you know who you are downloading and what song. You know who created that song, and most people would not upload it and put their name on it and claim it as their own.
Downloading material isn’t the problem. Attribution is. Putting something on Youtube, or Flickr that was produced by someone is really easy to do. There aren’t computers that can detect that the material is someone else’s work (not counting Digital Rights Management… that’s another post). The thing that pains me the most is REDISTRIBUTING already available free content like photos, video , and audio. This is most prevalent with photos.
It’s hurts me to see someone post one of my photos on another site when I’m already providing it on Flickr. But there’s a sidestep so to speak here. It’s called Creative Commons. Creative Common licenses say basically this:
- You are free to republish said material as long as you do so under the requirements of the creator.
- Attribute it to the creator in the way they see fit.
There are Creative Commons licenses that also restrict if the content can be altered or remixed, and also used commercially.
But basically the license does away with the traditional copyright and says “Hey, go on and use this”. All you have to do is attribute it to them with their name or a link. That is pretty progressive and awesome. But people don’t pay attention to this either. It’s this behavior that will make distributing content more restrictive like music and video. If people are responsible with content, then publishers will be more encouraged to distribute it freely and in new mediums. That’s a broad statement I know but I think it’s true.
Why am I bringing this up? Well for example, a photo I took some time ago which I posted on Flickr and included in the WMSR group was recently reposted BACK on Flickr under another account for no reason. No observance of my Creative Commons license. I know that my photos aren’t high demand content, and I’m not losing any money, but still a nod of the head is nice. And remember if you post something of mine without the nod, it’s pretty much like being shunned.