Thursday, 23 October 2008

Flickr, Creative Commons and Copyright 2.0

Flickr is a fabulous resource. Not only can you share your photos with others, it serves as a large repository for stock photos which can be used for academic presentations, etc. In terms of licensed academic resources there is ArtStor, but having digested the license for ease of re-use, 2 words come to mind: not friendly. There are other sites which have stock photos (Phil Bradley has a summary of these.) I've experimented with a bunch of these sites testing keywords and usability and range of stock and bookmarked my favourites under the 'stock_photos' tag in my Delicious feed.

In particular, Flickr epitomises the spirit of Web 2.0 and how copyright (and inherent intellectual property) has evolved for the web. In addition to social networking by sharing your creative ideas, endeavours, Flickr also allows you to share your content with as many or as few restrictions as possible via a Creative Commons license. (Another aspect of Web 2.0 is that you can follow the addition of new content and developments uploaded (by individual) via RSS feeds at the bottom of that individual's page.)

From the main page (above) click on search, then click through to the Advanced search button.

Scroll on down until you see the following filters:

From this point, you can restrict your search to photos whose owners will allow re-use or adaptability of content (most just asking for a citation back to the original on Flickr), some allowing adaptability but for non-commercial purposes. It is this variance which allows a Creative Commons license to sit in the middle of a continuum ranging from copyright (where permission must be sought for any modifications) to public domain (do with it what you will).

At a time when MEPs are debating extension to existing copyright laws, creativity in this new medium will be stifled as the editors of the Guardian eloquently put yesterday in their tribute to Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig.
"[Lessig] regards extension of copyright as anathema to the YouTube generation and a brake on economic growth. He also thinks it is against the US constitution, which states that copyright should be "limited". The original limit has been extended from 14 to 70 years after the death of the creator, and Prof Lessig points out that one of the main corporations that lobbied for this, Disney, cut its creative teeth by raiding the public domain for works from Snow White to the Hunchback of Notre Dame. If the current term for copyright had existed then, it might have suffocated Mickey Mouse at birth."
Speaking of Disney, it is only apropos that I highlight the following Youtube clip which covers issues of copyright, in particular, the fair use (US) / fair dealing (UK) doctrine using snippets of Disney's own cartoon characters.

Whilst this clip is very entertaining and outlines the general principle of fair use, there are some differences with fair dealing (UK) albeit both operate from a common ideology which balances the market value (i.e. what an author could potentially lose) against a reasonable amount of time for the author to enjoy those royalties. (To this end, I think it's about time Steamboat Willie passed into public domain! I'm not including the famous Mickey Mouse clip which first synchronised sound with animation in this posting but here is the link to the 1928 clip.) To learn a bit more about Creative Commons licensing and how you can use it and adapt materials for your research, this clip is a nice introduction. (Because it is hosted on Revver, small annoying text ads appear like super-titles, once they appear they can be immediately minimised which I HIGHLY recommend!)

With all of the discussion on copyright I would be remiss if I did not mention Eduserv's new Copyright Tutorial which was brought to my attention in a recent posting by Sheila Webber. Although I am not a (big) fan of Eduserv, I give credit where credit is due and they've done a good job here. The Copyright Toolkit ( is a good resource with a UK focus for those wishing to ensure compliance. It has exercises to work through different scenarios and will serve as a nice reference as it contains relevant bits of case law to illustrate their points.

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Creative Commons License
Interesting Music Stuff (IMS) is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. Any redistribution of content contained herein must be properly attributed with a hyperlink back to the source.
Click on the time link at the bottom of the post for the direct URL
and cite Colin J.P. Homiski, Interesting Music Stuff.