SpaceX Photos Now Using Creative Commons License... But With Restrictions

from the almost,-but-not-quite dept

Last month, we noted how unfortunate it was that, unlike NASA photos which are automatically in the public domain, photos taken by private space company SpaceX, would be covered by copyright. We asked SpaceX founder Elon Musk to declare SpaceX's photos in the public domain. The company has not quite done so, but has now agreed to offer them up under a restrictive Creative Commons license, as reported by Jason Koebler at Vice's Motherboard. SpaceX has put up a Flickr feed with the images, but is unfortunately using a CC BY-NC 2.0 license, meaning that it bars commercial use.

This is, certainly, better than nothing, and better than locking down the photos entirely. But, it is still problematic, in that barring commercial use could limit the ability of important analysis by companies. Yes, it also stops some company coming in and trying to publish a book or sell those photos, but is that really a big concern by SpaceX? Why should the company even be worried about that? It seems like this is a case where SpaceX would be better off using a CC0 public domain dedication to make it clear that the images are available however people want (or, at the very least dropping the "commercial" use restriction).

Again, Elon Musk has recognized the value of completely freeing Tesla's patents, which are certainly a lot more central to Tesla's business than SpaceX's photos -- so hopefully the company will continue to move towards freeing these images as well.
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Filed Under: creative commons, elon musk, nasa, photos, public domain, space
Companies: spacex

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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 19 Mar 2015 @ 3:33pm


    Actually, they have flown a space telescope. The Deep Space Climate Observatory, tossed to the Sun-Earth L1 Lagrangian point. CASSIOPE might also count.

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