Wikipedia: On How I Want to Give them Photos but am Scared

December 30, 2008

A quick break from end-of-year musings to revisit a slightly more real world. I had an interesting conversation with Pete Forsyth at the Green Dragon during Beer and Blog last Friday (I know, that’s a mouthful; I don’t talk that much about the tech junkets I go on, but they are frequent and often cleverly-named). We spoke of a concern dear to my heart: the licensing required to share a photo with Wikipedia. In a nutshell, to give your photo to Wikipedia, you have to allow unlimited commercial use of the image. This can be tough as Coca-Cola can now paper billboards with my photos to their heart’s content. But it’s not a simple issue.

Pete wrote a thoughtful post as a result of this conversation and its comment thread made me think deeply. I’d be interested in your general opinion, too. It is such a muddy issue that I had trouble coming up with a coherent comment, a snip of which is below:

I am attached to specific photos not because of the weight of commerce they entail, but because of the personal nature of their expression. Releasing them into the wilderness always makes me feel a bit exposed, a nakedness I can handle in terms of college students working on term project collages and poor post-rock bands who need images for CD covers but yet take umbrage when metaphorical uber-corps have unlimited raping access. Yes–this is my own insecurity.

Am I right to feel this way? Maybe not, even if it is somewhat culturally natural. Is it reconcilable with my goals here? Probably not. Mostly now I am confused, somewhat ashamed of my own desire to hoard my own images.

OK, now go read the post.

Wonderful games with Caslon