What do you think about CC0 and CC-BY regarding the use of photos?

Merry Christmas , everyone :)
I’m photoglapher in Japan.
I’ve been thinking a lot about CC0 and CC-BY lately.
I make a small amount of money from my plant photos.
On the other hand, I would like to see my photos used in more ways, because I believe that this will contribute to the development of culture.

The difference between CC0 and CC-BY is whether or not the author’s name is included.
However, if the inclusion of the author’s name seems to be a hindrance to the use of the photos, we are considering making the rights of the photos CC0.

Do you have any trouble handling the difference between CC0 and CC-BY when actually regarding the use of photos?
Please let us know your opinion about CC0 and CC-BY.

I have read the following links which may be helpful.
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/inaturalist-data-on-gbif-shows-only-cc-by-nc-excluding-cc0-and-cc-by/9952/33
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/on-the-use-of-cc0-photos-downloaded-from-the-web/22210/34
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/all-rights-reserved-observations/20390/13
https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/do-you-ever-put-your-images-into-public-domain/19588

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If they’re going to be used for good, there’s no problem in mentioning author from my experience, reckless people will save photos without looking at licence anyway. But if you’re making money maybe you’d want to have a more strict one, it won’t cut out many of uses and people always can message you to change it to an open one on certain photos. I wouldn’t recomment using CC0 if you’re a photographer.

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If someone wants to use your CC-BY-licensed work without attribution, they can always contact you to ask for one-off permission, as (per my understanding, IANAL) you still retain all the rights to the photo including the ability to grant individual usage licenses. Some people don’t realise this, so you could always mention it in your profile if it’s something you want to encourage.

Personally, I license all my photos under CC-BY or BY-SA, and my observation data under CC0 as I don’t consider it an artistic work, and it’s only made “valuable” by contributions from identifiers, so I don’t see it as a “work” I have rights to.

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One approach you can take is not uploading the best photos that are actually saleable to iNat. I know most photogs who make money usually have a lot of pics and only a few are good enough to be worth money. Many of the others are still useful as scientific evidence, however, especially when combined into one observation. So you could upload those pics with little/no monetary value to iNat with the least restrictive license you can, and save the good pics for more restrictive licenses. You can set different licenses for each pic if you want (though it does take a little time).

As @barnabywalters notes, I think it’s good practice to set your observation data to a very permissive license like CC0. I don’t know of any way that’s generally saleable and it makes it the most useful.

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Somewhat related, in my view it would be ideal if all iNat photos going forward used a requirement not to have names, logos, or markings directly on them (although no one who’s added names has been incorrect to). The reason is photos without names/markings are easier to see and ID, are more applicable to use as taxon page photos, and seem more in keeping with the site’s primary goals. The licensing options (which display on photos as a disappear-able overlay) along with the observer’s name and their option to leave links (e.g. to photography websites) seem to cover authorship/credit sufficiently. There always may be some level of risk of internet uses re-using photos without giving sufficient credit regardless of what license is used and whether there are names/marks. Fortunately tools like image-comparison websites now make finding uncredited internet re-uses of photos more easy (if it’s likely to affect an observer’s own photos at all).

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All of my photos have my watermark, i.e. name and copyright symbol. I would not put them here if there was a rule not allowing them. I have over 10,000 photos I plan to upload in the near future. I would sure be unhappy if iNat removed my photos because they have my copyright on them after doing all of that work.

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I agree, by saying “going forward” I meant if there ever were a rule it would only make sense to apply to future observations.

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I don’t think anything in site’s goals is against having a watermark, it’s the opposite as many photographers are interested in what they’re seeing, but can’t id it. Maybe you’re talking about huge signs over whole photo, which would make id process harder, but a single line with a name in the corner or even on the animal is ok.

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All of my photos are released under a CC0 license to promote re-use. I’ve had several of my photos used in books, academic papers, and elsewhere, which I’m very happy about, including the recently published Spiders of the World. In my experience, even though my photos are licensed as CC0, people generally ask for permission anyway and credit me in the works. They also typically send me a free copy of whatever work the photo is published in. So even though I’m not making any money off the photos, I feel proud that they are being seen by so many people and hopefully contributing to people’s appreciation of nature. That sense of contribution and accomplishment from having my photos widely published is much more substantial than any money I would expect to make from selling the photos.

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I didn’t mean it’s not allowed, it is allowed. I meant my suggested preference for what would work best (for something like a new change or feature request) would be to not have anything over the wildlife photos, just show wildlife, for new observations (not affecting existing ones). There are sufficient additional spaces where observers can add links to their photography websites, and iNat makes licenses overlays which can disappear. Often I see the best photo for a species has words on it, preventing me from otherwise using it for the taxon page photo.

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I saw many main taxon photos with watermarks, if organism is seen it’s not a big distraction, in the end photos belong to authors and we can’t tell them to stop doing that, but maybe it should be added to guideline list to avoid using big watermarks and if possible not to use at all, but it shouldn’t be a rule.

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Well we have different views for what would be best. Again, I only meant if that change were to be suggested/discussed and implemented, not telling anyone what to do currently.

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I understand it and that’s why we’re discussing it, it can lead (if implemented) to people leaving the site, which would be a big downside even though it has some pluses.

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First, it is really anyone’s choice in which license they choose to release and I really have no issue with what someone chooses.

Having said that I prefer CC0 for all content shared on crowdsourcing platforms. Photos that are meant to generate revenue should not be shared on iNaturalist. The community add economic value to pictures taken. e.g. If a photographer takes a picture of a bird, the value is not as high as if a community of experts vouch that it is an image of a rare bird. In that case, the photographer earns money on free knowledge gained from experts. It is much fairer if both the knowledge and the image are shared as free and open contributions.

I also share all my contributions with a CC0 license. First because of license stacking, but also because I will not follow up on license breaches. Yes, maybe some culprit will use my content in some commercial endeavour, but I think the risk of this is much smaller than the benefits. This is also shown by those cases where even that with CC0 attribution is not required many still have the decency to provide the attribution.
As long as the licensing landscape is so messy as it currently is, I will maintain my preference for the most open and free license for any content.

But as I started this response, it really is anyone’s choice. 2 years ago due to the CC-BY-NC default license on iNaturalist it was sometimes depressing how little of the contributions were really reusable. CC-BY-NC is still the default license, however more and more are sharing with more open licenses to extend that now there is enough content to reuse. I am even considering only identifying observations that are shared with a CC0 and CC-BY license. Why would I provide free knowledge to a photographer who might use that to sell photos?

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Use of CC-BY-NC doesn’t mean that you yourself is going to sell photos, it means you don’t want others to do that.

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I completely agree with your thoughts.
A photo with no information attached is just a photo, nothing more, nothing less.
But when information is added to it, the photo becomes a record and has value.
That is why I started this thread, because I was thinking of granting CC0 license to the photos.

On a different note, I visited your website.
The hurdy-gurdy is a very interesting instrument.
The sound is also very nice.
I also like Oku Hanako :)

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I license my photos as CC-BY because I would prefer to be credited if anyone uses them. I am not a professional, and while some of my pictures are very good, most aren’t. As such, I don’t think it matters much what license I use since no one will want them anyway. But just in case, I use CC-BY. I think it’s mostly just personally preference which license you use (between CC-BY and CC0) based on how important it is to you to be credited if someone uses you photos. CC0 is slightly less work for the person using them, and CC-BY allows you to retain some rights while still releasing them into the public domain.

I really don’t recommend CC-BY-SA for iNat, since it means your photos can’t be used on GBIF.

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Thank you all so much for your input.

I took it as a sign that it doesn’t really matter whether you use CC0 or CC-BY for your photos.
I thought that whether to use CC0 or CC-BY depends on the mindset of the person providing the photo.
Since the CC-BY license can be used for GBIF, I think I’ll post my photos under CC-BY.
Of course, I will post the observation data under CC0.

I know it’s a little early, but I wish you a Happy New Year.
Thanks for the feedback!

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I support @fluffyinca and @barnabywalters on this topic and I don’t think it likely that changing from CC BY to CC0 will encourage others to make more use of your photos. However, I am still unhappy that the default license in iNat for both the photos and the observation are CC BY-NC. The default for observation could better be CC BY for reasons posted elsewhere.

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