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Submit Response is a weblog by Jack Mottram, a journalist who lives in Glasgow, Scotland. There are 1308 posts in the archives. You can subscribe to a feed. This post was made on and belongs in the art and culture category. The previous post was , and the next post is .

Creative Commons In The UK

Becky Hogge’s Some Rights Reserved, A View of the UK Creative Commons Project is a great overview of the recent porting of Creative Commons licenses into UK law, with an emphasis on the readyness of British institutions to adopt, or consider adopting, the licenses.

I tend to use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, which means that anyone is free to use stuff from this weblog (unlikely, I know, but various Interviews have been used by students and schoolkids) or my photographs stored on Flickr, as long as they give me credit, do not alter the work in question, and do not use the work for commercial gain.

All fine and dandy, as I reserve some rights, while making it easier for folk to freely use things I’ve made. But there are problems. For one thing, hardly anyone has a clue what a Creative Commons license is, which is why this photograph ended up, uncredited to me, altered and in a commercial context on page seven of the current issue of The List magazine. (At least I assume so - they’re good nice people, so it seems safe to say that no one was laughing maniacally in front of their Mac, spluttering ‘I did see and understand the CC license, but I shall ignore it!’ as they put the page together.)

Obviously, in this case, it’s not a problem - I’m pleased that the shadowy sprayers of the Maryhill Anti-Graffiti Network got a nice plug in print after Tim spotted their work here - but it seems safe to say that this sort of thing is quite common, with print publications and websites innocently scooping up CC-licensed content because they don’t understand the licenses, easy to read as they are for non-legal types, or, more likely, because the content is not clearly labelled as being released under a CC license. Obviously, as the licenses are applied more widely, this lack of understanding will fade, but right now, I’d bet there’s a hell of a lot of CC-licensed work being reproduced and refactored uncredited as things stand.

A second issue: It seems perfectly reasonable to me to photograph, say, a detail from my friend Rhian’s installation, or a Monica Bonvincini wall text at the DCA, in order to put it on the web with full attribution, but it seems a bit iffy for me to then control the re-publication of that photograph, itself, in a sense, a derivative work based on someone else’s.

Does anyone know how the relationship between an image of a copyrighted or CC-licensed work and the work itself is handled?

Posted at 5pm on 06/04/05 by Jack Mottram to the art and culture category.
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