Licensing Photos

I like taking photos (although I seem to have rather got out of the habit of doing so). I like it even more when people want to use my photos. For that reason, all of my photos on Flickr are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike licence. This means that anyone can do whatever they like with my photos as long as:

  • They credit me
  • They don’t use them commercially
  • They license the work which uses my photos under the same conditions

That seems to accurately reflect the way that I want my photos used. Do whatever you want, but don’t make money out of my work. Actually, it means “don’t make money out of my work without asking me first”. My photos have been used in a couple of commercial situations and I’ve been happy to allow that use without a fee. The non-commercial clause is really there just to stop someone like the Daily Mail using my photos without paying me.

One place that I particularly like to see my photos being used is on Wikipedia. Searching on Wikipedia Commons tonight I see that there are two of my photos listed. I think it used to be more and I think that it will soon be fewer. That makes me sad.

The reason I checked Wikipedia Commons this evening was that I got a message on Flickr from someone who has been checking the licensing of Wikipedia Commons images. He was asking particularly about this photo of the 2003 “Stop the War” demo. He was asking as the description on Wikipedia Commons didn’t include the non-commercial clause that was mentioned on the Flickr page. He asked if I had changed the licence. I replied saying that I didn’t think I had changed the licence as the Attribute, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike licence pretty much summed up how I had always wanted my photos licensed.

He replied saying that he had removed my photo from Wikipedia Commons as Wikipedia can’t use images that have the Non-Commercial clause in their licence. Which is why the photo wasn’t returned by the search I ran earlier. And why I suspect that the other two photos will soon disappear.

I tried an experiment. I edited the description of one of my photos on Wikipedia Commons so that the licence was accurate. And when I previewed my changes the licence template expanded into a big warning sign saying that my photo was now a candidate for speedy deletion as it wasn’t licensed according to the Commons licensing policy. I quickly changed it back.

I don’t understand this at all. Wikipedia is a non-commercial project. I specifically chose a licence which would, I thought, allow my photos to be used on Wikipedia. But it seems I was wrong. I don’t see why Wikipedia requires a licence that allows commercial use. Does anyone know what is going on.

I really don’t want to re-license my photos to allow unrestricted commercial use. But I really want my photos to be usable on Wikipedia.

It’s all a bit of a dilemma.

Update: I thought this all sounded very familiar. I wrote something very similar in 2008.


Been Away

Colosseum, RomeIt’s over a month since I’ve posted anything here. Sorry about that. For the first half of August I was in Italy. The first week, I was speaking at a conference in Pisa and after that we spent a few days in Rome and Venice. I took more than a few photos and they’re slowly making their way onto my Flickr page. They should all be up there in a week or so (although, having said that, I still haven’t sorted out the photos from last year’s holiday in the Baltic).

Rather pleased with the way this photo of the Colosseum came out. But given a half-decent camera, an ancient monument and the Italian flair for lighting there probably wasn’t much that could go wrong.

Not quite sure what happened to the rest of August though…


A Life Well Documented

Recently I realised that two seemingly completely different projects were, in fact, both facets of the same project. They both led me to putting more detail about my history into web sites and (once they are complete) this will mean that my life will become far better documented.

The first project started when I dug out an old box of photographs. I was relatively late into digital photography so I have huge numbers of photos which just linger in boxes and albums instead of being enjoyed on Flickr. Also in the box I found the negatives for most of the films so I decided to start getting the negatives scanned in and put on CDs (if anyone is interested, it looks like Boots are the cheapest place to get this done).

This scanning is still in progress, but when I got the first few CDs back I realised that there were lots of photos of holidays and that I only had the vaguest of ideas when some of these holidays took place. So over the last couple of weeks, I’ve done pretty much all I can to tie down the dates of all of the holidays I’ve taken in the last fifteen years. I’ve gone through old passports looking for stamps. I’ve searched for email confirmations of flight bookings. I’ve even gone through my invoicing records to see which days I didn’t invoice clients for (an unexpected advantage of being a freelancer). As I’ve been going through this process, I’ve been adding the trips to my Dopplr account.

The project has expanded from just covering holidays. I’ve been to a lot of conferences in that time and I’ve also added those details to Dopplr. I don’t think I’m very far from having a complete record of every conference and meeting that I’ve ever spoken at.

The other project which eventually led in the same direction was my discovery of Songkick. Songkick aims to produce a complete directory of gigs. Users can add details of gigs they attended and mark themselves as having been at gigs added by other people. Trying to track down the dates of obscure gigs you attended in the late 1980s turns out to be a surprisingly addictive pastime. I’m sure I’ll never get everything into my account, but it’s certainly fun trying. I don’t even mind that the first gig I ever attended was supremely embarrassing.

Songkick currently has one obvious omission. It would be great if they would publish a users list of gigs (or “gigography” as they call it) as an iCal feed so that I could subscribe to it in Google Calendar. I’m sure that something like that will be added to the site soon.

There’s an obvious crossover between these two projects of course. Some gigs (more usually, festivals) can also count as holidays. Every time I went to Glastonbury or the Cambridge Folk Festival, that’s going to need to be listed in both Dopplr and Songkick.

Two interesting projects. Neither of them will ever be 100% complete, but it’s fun trying to get as close as you can. Of course, they both appeal to the “High Fidelity” style list geek in me. If these tools had been available thirty years ago I would certainly have been using them. And that would have given me an incredibly rich set of data about how I spent my time. One that I’m now painfully trying to piece together a bit at a time.

I’m fast coming to the conclusion that you can’t ever have enough data about your life. I’m now looking for new data sets that I could add to my life history.


Livery Companies – Project Complete

(Well, stage one of the project, anyway.)

A couple of years ago whilst I was working in the heart of the City of London, I noticed that my lunchtime wanders were taking me past a few of the City Livery Halls. I’d always been aware of the Livery Companies, but I’d never really investigated them, so I didn’t know how many of them there were or how many still had Livery Halls. So I decided to find out a bit more about them.

I also started taking photos of the halls that I passed. Of course, when you have the collector gene that I have, just taking pictures as you wander past buildings randomly isn’t enough. I had to find out where all of the remaining halls were and get pictures of them.

And finally, a couple of months ago (as I was walking to a meeting) I took photos of the last three. I only uploaded them to Flickr last night as I had some trouble with Shozu (which may or may not be related to the general phone weirdness I mentioned last week). But anyway, I fixed the phone last night and was able to upload the final pictures.So now I have a set of photos which (as far as I know) contains all of the Livery Halls. There are forty-one pictures in the set, but one of them is a plaque marking the site of the Cooks’ Hall which is no longer there (they kept burning it down). If you know of any I’ve missed, I’d love to hear about it.

Why do I say that this is just the end of stage one of the project? Well, I was a bit disappointed to see that there was no good site on the web to get information about the Livery Companies. What information there is out there is scatter amongst a number of sites. So I decided to put that right. I’m in the process of building which will hopefully become the definitive place on the web to find information about these fascinating institutions.


Translating from Russian

A few day ago, I noticed this Russian blog entry which used one of my photos of Montserrat. When adding the link to Delicious I commented that it would be good if could read Russian so that I understood what was being said.

(Another) Dave reminded me that Google has a translation service which claims to do Russian to English translations. So I tried it, and the results were really pretty good.

City after volcanic eruption

In summer 1995, in one of the islands in the Caribbean eruption occurred. As a result, Plymouth city was almost completely filled ash. A layer of ash in a half meters.

In the town of 4000 people lived, and was the capital of the island. Clear solidified lava flows and ash was too expensive. The capital is moved to another city. A Plymouth declared a zone of exclusion.

The single comment just says “terrible”. Of course the translation isn’t perfect. But it’s a lot better than I expected it to be.


Flickr Stats

I’ve been playing with the new Flickr stats pages. I can’t give a link as each page can only be seen by the owner of the account, but your page will be at<username>/stats. You need to visit that page initially to opt in to the service. It will then start crunching all your numbers and will suggest that you come back to have another look tomorrow. I signed up yesterday, so I’ve just been looking at what you get.

From top to bottom of the page:

  • A line graph showing the number of views of your account each day for the previous month or so. From this it’s easy to see when a picture of yours has attracted some kind of attention which causes a spike in the graph.
  • A table showing the numbers of pages views for your photostream, individual photo pages, sets and collections. Numbers are given for the previous day, this week, last week and all time.
  • Lists of your ten most viewed photos both yesterday and for all time. Each of these lists has a link to a full list.
  • Information about the referrers for your photos. This is a list of the pages that people were looking at just before they came to your page. From this you can find pages where people are linking to your photos. Obviously most of the links come from within Flick (clicking on the “next photo” link, for example) but it’s interesting to see where else links come from. I particularly enjoyed exploring the Google referrers. It’s nice to know that this photo is the first result on a Google search for “frobisher crescent” and I’m really rather proud to see that a search for “working in banking” returns this photo in the first page of results.
  • Finally, there’s a breakdown of how you’ve organised your photos. There are graphs showing how many of your photos have the various privacy levels assigned, how many of them are tagged, geotagged, in sets and in groups, and how many of them have comments, are in someone’s favourites list and even how many have never been viewed. It seems that thirteen of my photos have never been viewed by anyone except me.

All in all, lots of interesting information. I recommend having a look.

Update: Oh look. There’s a help page that explains it all.


More Photos

Last night I should probably have been working on my tutorial for tomorrow’s London Perl Workshop but instead I was uploading photos of New Zealand to Flickr.

So now there are sets from Christchurch and Fox Glacier as well as a more general set of photos of the South Island. There’s also a South Island collection which contains all of those sets.

There are a few more South Island photos to be cleaned up and uploaded, and then next week I’ll start work on the North Island shots.


Some Photos At Last

Those of you who were reading my blog back in July will remember a number of posts about me buying a digital SLR camera which I was going to take away on holiday with me. You may be wondering why you haven’t seen any photos.

The truth is that I made a fundamental mistake with the camera. I didn’t check my equipment before using it. And that led to a couple of nasty problems.

  • I went all around New Zealand with a dirty lens
  • I hadn’t formatted the CF card properly so about a quarter of the photos are corrupted and unusable

I still don’t know what to do about the second problem. I have a couple of hundred photos that I just can’t read. Any software I use claims that they aren’t JPEGs. I’m sure there’s a tool somewhere that will fix this. I’ll keep looking.

The first problem, however, can be fixed. This weekend I made friends with The Gimp‘s Clone Tool which seems to be a great way to remove unsightly blemishes from photos.

It’s a manual process though. And I have about eight hundred photos to fix. So they’ll be appearing over the next few weeks. As a taster I’ve uploaded some of the photos I took in Singapore as we passed through on our way to New Zealand.


Flash Flood

I monitor an RSS feed of all photos uploaded to Flickr with the tag “balham”. Which is how I came across this set of photos of a flash flood in Balham today.

I’m trying to work out how close to my house this was. And vaguely dreading what I’ll find when I get home this evening.


Havana Photos

Still slowly organising the photos from the christmas cruise.

Here is a set of photos from Havana and here’s a collection that will eventually contain all of the cruise sets.