Posts Tagged ‘Creative Commons’

Was looking at the “copyright/permission to reproduce” notice that’s posted on the Industry Canada website today (my understanding is that this is a standard thing that’s pretty much identical for all federal departments and agencies):

The material on this website is covered by the provisions of the Copyright Act, by Canadian laws, policies, regulations and international agreements. Such provisions serve to identify the information source and, in specific instances, to prohibit reproduction of materials without written permission.

Ok, so the stuff on our websites are subject to copyright and lots of other legal stuff. But contrary to what you’d expect, the notice goes on to read:

Information on this site, other than government symbols, has been posted with the intent that it be readily available for personal and public non-commercial use and may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from Industry Canada. We ask only that:

  • Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
  • Industry Canada be identified as the source department; and
  • The reproduction is not represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made in affiliation with or with the endorsement of Industry Canada.

That’s my emphasis there. Yup, people are encouraged to take our info and copy it it, reuse it, spread it around. Amazing, innit? But it makes sense really – we’re not out to make a buck so we don’t see our content the same way as a private sector publisher would. Plus it kinda goes hand in hand with that stuff about, uh, serving citizens.

Of course, this being government, so we’re not totally free’n’easy with our info. There are conditions attached to copying and reusing our content. But the restrictions are pretty simple really – don’t use our stuff to make money, don’t change anything, attribute the source, and don’t imply any endorsement that doesn’t exist. (Oh and don’t copy out logos, please.)

Obviously, I’m no lawyer, but this sure sounds a lot like a Creative Commons license… more specifically, in the “Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works” flavour:

You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • No Derivative Works. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

So I’m sure I’m not the first person ever to have noticed this, but it is a nice parallel.


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Photo of Creative Commons logo projected on a screen


At work I routinely get asked if we’ve got a photo bank – folks in our Department are always looking for ways to add imagery to their web pages or pamphlets or whatever other type of marketing or communications materials they are working on.

We don’t have a corporate photo bank, haven’t for years. Shrinking budgets and overextended resources are to blame. No money to acquire imagery, and no one to manage the licensing and whatnot.

Creative commons to the rescue?

CC licensed images could really help out us govt communicator types always struggling to add some visual interest to stuff thats frequently very dry. And without the cost or time involved to acquire the rights to traditional commercial photography.

I haven’t yet fully thought this through, but since we’re generally not about marketing in the service of making a buck, it would seem like CC licensed images would be a natual fit. And thanks to Creative Commons Canada, it’s really easy to search for CC content.

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Industry Canada in Toronto

(source: rguerra on Flickr, posted on 13 Aug 2005)

Was curious to see what kind of footprint Industry Canada has on Flickr, so I went searching… and this is the best (of three in total!) Creative Commons shots that I could come up with. There are some other pix with more traditional copyrights attached to them (like this one of the building where I work), but nothing else that I can repost.

Actually, this photo is a puzzle – why would anyone find this interesting enough to first take a picture of and then go through the trouble of actually posting? As an example of typical government approach to displays? As a cautionary tale of how not to overburden your display with too much text? Then again, maybe this tells a story that doesn’t come through in 500 X 375 pixels…

Anyhow, the lack of an Industry Canada presence on Flickr makes me wonder if there’s any value in setting up a Flickr account where all the photos posted to the front page of the www.ic.gc.ca Web site also get posted, perhaps with pithy commentary. Might help to humanize what we do.

Aside: the photographer’s comment for this photo was the funniest search result that I got.

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This blog is pretty drab ain’t it?

I’m gonna try to overcome that by using this formula:

Flickr + Creative Commons = Images (that are better than my posts LOL).

I’ve noticed how lotsa folks snag great shots from Flickr and post them on their blogs. But how to find decent shots without going crazy trying to sift through more than 2 billion images? (That mind-boggling number according to Flickr’s community manager Heather Champ — h/t Brian Oberkirch.)

So, a little poking around on the internets and I found this handy handy tutorial on how to do it.

Here’s the coles notes version of the tutorial: Go to the Creative Commons “Attribution license” search page on Flickr. You can snag photos under this CC license and use them at will — all you need to do is credit the source by linking back to their Flickr profile.

Nice work also by Flickr to enable the community to easily do this kind of thing.

Time to get visual:

Is a Flickr image good if its thumbnail isn’t?

(Photo: kevindooley)

Found this via an attribution license search on “get visual.” Interesing shot. Plus the photographer talks about Marshall McLuhan in his comments on the photo. Good enough for me!

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