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  • Aug 26th, 2015 @ 2:56pm

    Creative Commons Licenses

    This issue shows clearly - from the viewpoint of a professional photographer - the limits of a CC license. To be clear, this is not because the CC license itself is limited, but rather because many CC users don't recognize that the legal basis of CC is entirely linked to Federal copyright law, and are not aware how that might affect the usage of an image, their legal rights, and how this might affect their income.

    In addition, many clients also are not clear about copyright law, either, and part of being a professional is being able to describe how that works without pissing off clients - I find this a constant challenge. I don't know any working, full-time professionals who use CC licenses as a basis for their contracts, because our contracts require more detail than the basic CC license, not because there is anything inherently wrong with CC licenses.

    I believe CC licensing is great for non-professionals, as it simplifies what is admittedly a confusing and overly complicated process. Even the Copyright Office recognizes this, and is in the midst of trying to change how it does business.

    Anyone who wants to learn the basics of the law and how to register (it's not that bad!) can go to and click on: Business Resources > Tutorials & Guides > Copyright Tutorial. This is free, and open even to non-members, and the registration tutorial will walk you through step-by-step (I use it myself).

    ASMP is a trade association with a formal relationship with the Copyright Office, and a long history of working with these issues. ASMP also produced two day-long Symposiums in recent years, one of which includes Lawrence Lessig, in many respects the "inventor" of CC - a bright guy.