We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Aaron Swartz for the whole “creative commons” movement. I feel that he was somewhat unsung for his part in Wikipedia, so we must strive to always remember him for Wikimedia Commons. Imagine how much music, art, content, media and photography has been licensed and protected for the public to use, all because of Aaron Swartz’s great idea – create a license and make it free!
Often times the media has a license calling for “Attribution” but who would care about that, if someone has created a great image or sound-track (for example) and they license it creative commons, then it’s “fair use” to add value to what your own creative efforts, for free, just attribute the licensor, many of whom are professionals and want to give-away their media and ideas. This platform promotes collaboration in the most subtle and yet obvious way, people working over great distances and yet with instant communication, is creating a new renaissance of sorts. New ground is being broken in every imaginable direction, just like Ray Kurzweil describes in his future trends forecast; we’re expanding exponentially because our minds are connected through devices that enable us tremendous access to ideas and knowledge.
Before Wikimedia Commons private image archives and news media would employ teams of IP (intellectual property) experts and copyright cops yo seek-out web publishers like me, that would often borrow maps, charts, content and images that clearly belonged to someone other than me, someone who had undoubtedly paid some other person to create such media. In others words, it had obvious value and I, in some cases, did not have the express written consent from the owner of said media. One day I learned better….
For years now it’s not been necessary to go anywhere but to huge royalty free archives, none though, came anywhere close to the home page for the Creative Commons, and the doorway into some of the best images and media anywhere. Several months ago I was tipped-off by Robin Good, he’s the guru of good ideas for content collaboration and web marketing, about VisualHunt.com which is the absolute most exciting thing for me, since Yahoo was launched because it’s a search engine of 354,191,553 Creative Commons Photos. Yep, that’s right… if you can’t find an image to express your vision, from amongst 350 million, then maybe it doesn’t exist and you need to create, so you can upload it and give a “creative commons” license. Let’s all put our best something good there.