Friday, January 25, 2008


I have not talked too much about Creative Commons here. It is fairly easy to explain the idea, but it to really explain the implications of it and why I think it is important is more difficult.

I have all of my photography licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. I do not charge for redistribution of my work. Other people can use it as long as they attribute it to me. And they are welcome to modify it, even for profit, but they are required to apply the same license to it.

There are different types of licenses. I could apply one where I do not let others make money on it. But for me as an amateur photographer I think that this type of license serves me the best. I have been published numerous times and have never been paid. But I am still an amateur. If the publications wanted to pay they in most cases would have used a professional. So this license has given me exposure that I would not have otherwise received.

The "Share Alike" part of the license is important too. Because anyone that used my work has to apply the same license, they can't put it in a clip art collection and make it "All Rights Reserved". It is the exact same model as the GNU GPL that Linux uses. The GPL makes Linux free but also makes it so Microsoft or some other company can't make a modification and copyright it. And derevations of Linux have to use the GPL as well. The Creative Commons share alike license applies this to art as well. In a society where the ability to create media is becoming cheaper and more accessible to everyone the Creative Commons licenses have a part to play because they allow people top share and build upon the work of others.

I want the big media companies to have less control of information and culture. I think that Creative Commons is a part of what can make this happen.

The man who founded the Creative Commons is Lawrence Lessig. He founded Creative Commons 5 years ago and has been involved in the Free Culture movement for 10 years. He is a law professor at Stanford and has published 4 books. The latest of which has just been released for free under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. (actually all 4 of his books are availible for free under CC licenses)

The idea being the exact same one that you discuss with your friends every time you talk about ripping a CD or downloading a song. Most people are willing to pay for the music/books/movies that matter to them. For those special artists that are in your heart you want to buy it because they deserve it. Here with his books, I assume the rational is that it was availible for purchase. Those that really wanted to get it and wanted it right away will pay for it. After money has been made on it, release it to people, no need to be greedy. Also the buzz can create more sales. This is an issue that is important enough to me that I will be buying the book anyway.

Well after 10 years in the Free Culture Movement Larry has announced that he is giving his final talk on Free Culture.

I took the day off to go to it. He is someone I really respect and admire. Being able to see things like this is why I moved out here.

Also, and this is just as amazing if not more so than the CC stuff, he basically has said, I have decided to move on and try and tackle corruption.

First, to just be someone who spends 10 years changing minds on culture and how it is distributed is amazing.

To then say, I think I'll go try to tackle corruption. Well that is someone I want to help and be a part of that if I can.

Not just because it is amazing and ballsy and wonderful. But corruption has been troubling me more and more lately. And I actually think that getting a little better control of the media and how information is distributed is the foundation that would be needed to do that. To me, the work he has done is the perfect groundwork to tackle the challenge he is taking on next.

I also think that the Net is the place where we can regain control of our culture. Wikis, blogs, social networks and amalgams of those that we have not yet considered will let us do that.

But what is Mr. Lessig thinking about corruption?

I just did a google search on Lawrence Lessig corruption. In the true style of someone who believes that putting ideas out to the world and letting you help them refine them, you will find "Corruption Lecture - alpha version (Lessig Blog)" along with the other links.

I will be reading these over the next week and I will be looking for how I can help.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Action shot!

Action shot!
Originally uploaded by Zack Sheppard

This weekend I had lots of fun going out, seeing old friends, seeing my family, going to Unionville. But I think my favorite part was going out to the Sand dunes behind Winnemucca Mountain with my brother and taking pics at night for a few hours. I am in a weekly photo contest and just going out to try to take something for the contest so often creates ideas i never would have thought of if I wasn't out there in a photog mindset.

Thanks to the contest and thanks to Clay. (also thanks to Brian for reminding me to get my ass back on the blogging)