Tag Archives: license

A teachable moment after The @VillageVoice used my @Flickr photo despite my chosen @CreativeCommons license

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Last week, a Flickr contact of mine congratulated me on having one of my photos printed in The Village Voice. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said it was one from my No Pants Subway Ride series. [More information about the No Pants Subway Ride, dreamed up by Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere, is on their official blog post describing their event.]

My friend was sorting his recycling, and in the process of gathering his newspapers, he happened to skim the January 4-10, 2012 issue of The Village Voice and recognize my photo and my name. It’s all so incredibly serendipitous. When I got my hands on his issue and saw my photo in print, I was delighted with the half-page size, their treatment of it, and my (albeit teensy) byline, but I was sincerely shocked and confused.

Clearly, anything I post online is public. I’ve been telling my students to forget “public versus private” and instead consider “public versus less public.” It is comically easy to go online and copy/download/steal an image, a song, a movie, a book, etc. The hard part is to make wise choices and consistently cite sources or seek permission.

Here’s the thing: I license most of my photos on Flickr with Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial. So, that means I expect credit for my work and for others not to benefit financially for something I am offering freely. As The Village Voice charges for subscriptions and advertising, they are a commercial enterprise and use of my photo is clearly for commercial purposes.

I left a message John Dixon, Art Director of The Village Voice, saying that I appreciated the photo credit in the paper, but I was surprised no one contacted me or asked permission to use it. He wrote me the next day with a really nice apology, explaining that my chosen Creative Commons license “fell thru our quality-control cracks.” John offered standard compensation for a half-page re-use photo ($100) and to send extra hard-copies of the issue as it was no longer available at newsstands. I was amazed and gratified by John’s response, and my respect for Creative Commons grew. As per their About Page:

Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright — which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the internet. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solid, globally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs.

Original photo here: 

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6th graders added Art posts to their digital portfolio created with Google Sites

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Yesterday, I was in Yoshiko Maruiwa‘s art classes to help 6th graders add three posts to their personal digital portfolio (created in Google Sites). Yoshiko takes photos of all their finished work and creates albums on The Gallery. (The Gallery is our internal photo server powered by Drupal.) Kids include an image of their work along with an artist statement that explains their process, idea, challenges, successes, curricular connections, and anything else they want to include to curate their work. For today’s class, the students made a post for their Art Self Portrait, Art Tessellation, and Art Circle Design.

To organize all the posts from their 6th grade year, kids created an Announcements page named 2011-2012. As each post is written, it snaps into place in the sidebar index and is arranged alphabetically. Hence, I have them title their posts starting with the subject. I like this better than creating a new page/section for each subject. This way there are less clicks to get to examples of their work, and there is no danger of having pages without any projects on them.

During the course of our discussion, we talked about:

  1. Their invisible audience – while access to the kids’ digital portfolios is limited to users on our school’s GoogleApps domain, everyone in the community has an account. At any moment, their work could be viewed by students, teachers, administrators, parents, and anyone with access to a username/password. This should influence what they write (informative without being super personal) and how they write (grammatically correct).
  2. Appropriate commenting – write a comment that is specific and/or can initiate a discussion. Something like, “I liked your use of color” or “I see you painted a guitar. Do you play any other instruments?”
  3. Inserting an image by linking to the URL of the image online rather than taking a screen snapshot or dragging a copy of the image to the desktop. By using the URL, students can simply point to something else online. The alternative is to copy/take/steal a version of it which is tantamount to theft (depending on how the work is licensed).

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Teaching 5th graders to search and cite online images

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Nicole Haleen teaches Spanish to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades at The School at Columbia University. She might be one of the most organized people I work with. For the 5th grade study of Day of the Dead, 5th graders made drawings, dioramas, paintings, and scultptures of calacas (skeletons) before creating a digital altar to represent a family member. They built their altar in Inspiration, as it allowed them to quickly create tiers in order to populate with images and text.

Nicole asked me to come in and remind the students how to properly search and cite online images. This is what we discussed:

  1. They signed a Respectful Use Policy at the beginning of the year reinforcing that they’d be using technology academically, respectfully, and responsibly.
  2. Try to choose “advanced image search” in Google and Flickr and other sites so that you locate only images labeled for reuse.
  3. Use Wikimedia to search media. Wikimedia is a sister project of Wikipedia. I showed the 5th graders Wikimedia’s Reuse guide where they specifically state, “almost all may be freely reused without individual permission according to the terms of the particular license under which it was contributed to the project, but some licenses may require that the original creator be attributed.”
  4. It is incredibly easy from any browser (Firefox, Chrome, less so in Safari) to copy the image and paste it into Inspiration. Control-click on the image and choose Copy image.
  5. It is just as easy from any browser to copy the URL simply by holding down the Control key while clicking on the image with the mouse. Different browsers say different things: Copy image URL, Copy image address, Copy image location…
  6. We talked about how if you don’t cite/attribute a photo, it means you took it yourself, you forgot to cite it, or you stole it.
  7. I reinforced that 5th grade is a great age to get into the habit of being responsible, respectful, ethical, moral, and purposeful with information. The expectation is they will continue to do this throughout 5th grade and beyond.

Nicole lists the following sites for locating images:

http://commons.wikimedia.org
http://compfight.com
http://www.photos8.com
http://pics4learning.com
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/?CTT=97

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