Elon Musk Says SpaceX Photos Are Now Fully Public Domain
from the thanks-elon dept
In early February, we put out an open letter to Elon Musk, asking him to put SpaceX’s photos into the public domain, noting that it was a shame that those photos would be locked up until long after we were all dead. NASA’s photos are all in the public domain. While I’m extremely excited about the things that private spaceflight can accomplish — it would be unfortunate if part of the deal was that we lost a great source of public domain imagery. Last week, the company started releasing its photos under a Creative Commons license, which was definitely a big step forward. However, we noted that we were still disappointed that it wasn’t a pure public domain dedication, and in fact had a “non-commercial” restriction. So we once again asked if Musk might consider going that one step further to the public domain.
Over the weekend, he did just that:
One separate note: I was a bit surprised by the number of comments on our last story that seemed to indicate that it was absolutely crazy of me to dare to suggest that a private company put photographic works into the public domain. This is unfortunate. It is depressing how much the myth that everything needs to be “owned” has become pervasive in society, often due to the false claims made by legacy industries. Freeing up works so that the public can benefit from them has tremendous global benefits, even for the private interests who put those works into the public domain. Elon Musk recognized this with Tesla’s patents, and he appears to be doing the same with SpaceX’s photos as well.
And, yes, freeing these photos likely will come back to benefit SpaceX as well. It will enable others to take those works and build off of them, perhaps doing research or publications that will increase the demand for SpaceX’s services in launching things (and, eventually, people) into space. And those benefits are likely to be much more valuable than whatever SpaceX might have gotten in a “license” deal for a few photos to some commercial source.
It’s astounding to me the short-term, narrow-visioned view of the world some people have, in which they think licensing is the answer to everything, not recognizing just how much innovation and freedom it naturally suppresses.
Oh, and since I can now do this without any worry, here are a couple of great SpaceX photos, that Musk says are in the public domain. Enjoy!