Free Use Photos, Part 2 (The Plot Thickens)

Last week my colleague, Lori, called me for 2 reasons. First, she’d read my post about creating Free Use Photos and was intrigued by the idea. Second, in the process of looking into “Free Use” a bit more, she’d found a group who aim to do just the opposite by making flickr images exclusive,  basically inaccessible legally without obtaining specific (paid) rights.    [While searching just now, I see that one of the group’s administrators has changed the very formal and hard-edge statement that was listed last week which was essentially language that spoke of image-poachers and keeping images from free use. The statement now is more about offering “useful information for photographers…”].

Lori put forth the challenge to expand my one “Free Use Photos” set into a flickr group. Yes! Within a few hours the Free Use Group was set up, and has grown in the past couple of days to  have over 30 members and 4 administrators.

You can be a part of the Free Use Movement, too, and join the Free Use Group.

Part 2, Scene 2

This morning I received a call from the FBI. I’m not making this up. It was a follow-up from the photo-taking-spree I conducted during Computers in Libraries in DC.  I explained (again) why one would want to take photos of signs and buildings and such to use in presentations and on blogs. I explained about “Creative Commons” that I had just presented at the conference earlier that morning with Helene Blowers and that I’d posted the images on flickr in a set called “Free Use Photos.” When the interviewer asked me what this flickr thing was and how was it spelled, I resisted the urge to say “well, it’s sort of like The Google.” This “interview” went on for about 10+ minutes. How does one answer questions like “how many pictures did you take of that building?” Which one is “that building?” “Why would you take a picture of a water outlet?” Well, it was interesting and perhaps useful to someone who wants to portray the idea of “letting go of resources.” I have a better question(s): Why did I have to have this conversation in the first place, and does this gentleman have to call every tourist in D.C. who snaps a shot of their reflection in a window or a fire hydrant or an interesting doorway?

I’ll say it again: the “0” in 2.0 should not have to be a hoop (as in “jump through this hoop before you have access”).