We live in a new era of creativity. It is not just that we now have digital cameras, high-resolution video, huge ability to store all manner of visual and auditory content, ability to create computer-generated graphics, etc.; it is that we also have the means to make 100% copies of the works of others and whether purposely or inadvertently, turn them to our own use.
I've grown up with and made a business of the digital and internet revolution. I've been a part of its growth, and been involved in many of the controversies and discussions about its effects on society in general and artists, writers, photographers, and musicians in particular.
Here at Hancock Wildlife Foundation we are experiencing some of the same problems I've dealt with in other venues, and I think we need to examine what we're doing and understand the consequences - and fix the problem before it becomes a real issue.
Please read on for more
We have already dealt with the fact that the videos streamed from our site are covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. in my article last August: We want your video clips - here, not on other sites and follow-up articles as well as the copyright posting in the Discussion Forum Rules and Etiquette administrative section of the discussion forum.
What may not be clear is that other works posted here, articles as well as pictures and videos posted to the Media Gallery by me, David, and others, that are our own personal works not captured from the video streams, are also covered by both general copyright, and specifically by the Creative Commons license noted above for anything posted to these sites.
The fact that I have posted pictures of (for example) David up a tree installing a camera means that I have licensed that shot under the same Creative Commons license that the video is licensed to you under. If you use the shot, you MUST note that I took it (Attribution) and you may not use the shot for commercial purposes (like putting a copy on any web site that is supported by advertising, or by having it printed on mugs or mouse pads that you sell for a profit, or by including it in a book that is sold for a profit, or put in a video or other digital medium that is sold for a profit.
What it does mean is that you can take a copy and use it as your screen-saver (but you can't sell a screen saver with it in it for a profit) - or even post it on your own personal website that is paid for by you and does not host advertising.
You can even put it into a compilation of such photos and videos, put it on a CD-ROM or DVD, and sell that DVD/CD-ROM for the cost of the physical duplication of the medium with no profit whatsoever. Of course if the item you create is really good, we'd like you to offer it back to us so we can sell it at a profit and raise money for the foundation.
You can even use the image as the basis for creation of another work - say by using digital means to create a collage, or by drawing in funny additions, colorizing, etc. - but that new work is still covered by the same Creative Commons license, and it too may not be sold or used for profit, and it still has to have the attribution of who created the original.
The same thing goes for the text in the stories and discussion items. These too are copyright and covered by the Creative Commons license.
But does this mean I've given up all rights to my works? No!
Copyright in general means that, unless you specifically give up all rights in a contractual fashion for real gain (license your works to a publishing company or as a "work for hire" for example) you still retain all rights to your works, you just can't stop people from making copies for non-commercial purposes from the items you've posted here. You CAN however make money from your own works - and license them for other purposes to others for money or other compensation.
I can take the items I've posted here and make money from them elsewhere.
I can also let the foundation make money from them; just because I've posted them here does not mean the foundation has the right to sell them any more than a stranger does - they have to ask for a separate license from me to use the works just like anyone else would. They can only use their own works without asking. That being noted, the fact is that the foundation has really already noted that it will make money from the items posted here simply because there are already ads on the pages - and there are notes in the sign-up pages to that effect.
So the bottom line is... treat all the works you see here in the same fashion as you would anything posted by the foundation's video streams - but make sure you attribute the works to the original author!!! Don't make the mistake of thinking it is all the same, it is not!
In the digital world of today, even if an author or artist/photographer doesn't make direct income from one of their works shown here, they DO expect to earn a reputation for good works, and you deny them that satisfaction if you don't note who it was who created the work. It is a small price to pay for the works you see here, but it is a price that must be paid, or we won't see any more works posted.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation