Photos galore*

* The following is an editorial from the Canadian newspaper “Forever young“. I am publishing it with permission from the author, Don Wall. I think it gives a good idea about why Creative Commons is good for everybody.

Photos galore
By Don Wall, Editorial
Jan 14, 2008

In an era when artists are being pulled in many directions on copyright issues, mainly due to the difficulties in policing usage of tunes, photos, stories and more on the internet, I was pleased but perplexed to learn about recently.
You see, everyone has budgets to work with, me included, and so as we prepare content for this publication and others each month, we happily pay the going rate to our major contributors but then have to negotiate, scrimp and search for inexpensive or free editorial content to round out the lineup.
We all know the saying, You get what you pay for, and we accept that artists expect to be paid for their works like anyone else. So what to make of the Creative Commons section of, which is a website devoted to showcasing photographs – many millions of them, in fact. – of print-publishing quality. A creative commons operates like an agricultural commons across the pond – a place where all cows can go to graze. The Creative Commons of features a page where different licences are described – terms of use, essentially. The first section has some six-million glorious photos, and the only restriction, as far as I understand, is that the photographer must be credited. It’s called the “By: Attribution License,” and the explanation of the terms is as follows: “Attribution means: You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit.”
Sign me up! One’s first reaction is, What’s the catch? Normally the types of photos of Hillary Clinton that I was looking for – high resolution, sharp, large files, recent, good composition – would cost us a fair fee from my regular sources. Here, there were hundreds of Clinton photos for free.
One of them was posted by a fellow named Veni Markovski, who I learned was Bulgarian-born and active in politics and copyright issues. He now lives in the U.S. Markovski encouraged me to think not that I now have access to tons of freebie photos, but rather that I was assisting their creators in sharing ideas.

Who are you, and why are you posting these good photos for free? I asked him via email.
“I am one of the great fans of Creative Commons (check for more). As chairman of the Internet Society in Bulgaria, I promoted this, got Larry Lessig ( to come to my country.
“People want to create, invent, and they want to share their ideas.
“When I moved to the US, I was referred to flickr by another friend. I like these people, I like the idea that knowledge should be shared. That’s why I prefer to publish my pictures for free – so that people can use them.
“I also find this a way of communicating with friends – they know where I go, they see the pictures I take (sometimes they may even see me :), and this is wonderful. As more people can share their ideas … more people can actually be reached by these ideas.
“And thus the progress is unstoppable. No licences, no 95 years of copyright, no restrictions on using knowledge.”

All of the photos but one used with the Hillary Clinton article came from the flickr Creative Commons – from freedom fighters of the internet era.

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