A Good way to publish Photos copyleft

I am looking for a good way to publish images as copyleft. The current state of the art in licensing non-software seems to be creative commons, but its copyleft is so weak, that I don’t see how it protects the end users’ freedom. To be more precise, here is how I perceive the legal effects (please correct me if I am wrong):

· I publish a digital picture in high resolution, with intermediate files under CC-by-sa
· Magazine XY takes the picture, touches it up and prints it as part of some article in a small size
· user Z sees the picture in the article and doesn’t even know the associated rights, unless she looks in the table of figures; and even if she does she can only demand the ready-to-print down-scaled version of the photo, possibly with text covering it, in a non editable format

→ what’s the point? Where is the freedom? What do I gain as an author, if I let commercial magazines use my photos, that in turn, don’t share with my fellow citizens?

Why do we not treat pictures like software? Obviously there is a preferred way of making changes, which might be a format with layer and effects information, or even a non-destrucitve instruction set, like with darktable. This is != to the preferred form of distribution, which is some form of bitmap, so it makes sense to speak of source and non source in my opinion.

I want to release my photos in a way that forces people to make the source of my photos as well as the source of their changes available to all third parties. So I thought about just stuffing the original image, with intermediate formats and/or instructions in a tarball, add a GPLv3 file and a note, on how I define that the GPL applies. Does that make sense? Or have you come over other, easier ways to achieve a similar effect?

One thought on “A Good way to publish Photos copyleft

  1. You’re on the right track! I don’t think that source format for images has been terribly important in the past, but as the amount of uses increase, so does the need to be able to get to the original works. The GPL has this right, defining what you need as the “preferred form of the work for making modifications to [a work].” That’s not a scan of an article from a magazine, and a scan of an article from a magazine will never be enough for anyone wanting to use your work.

    I see two needs here: (1) we need to become better at provenance and attributing images (and other creative works) to the original author and ideally source, so that people can follow the links back to the original, and (2) we might eventually well need a license that better captures this need than CC and GPLv3 does today, for creative works.

    This is related to the work I do for Commons Machinery: http://commonsmachinery.se/

    As an interim solution, what I think you should do, is use the CC BY-SA license, and state clearly that you want to be attributed with a link to your original work, and ensure that this link points to both the original work and the license information about that work. The CC licenses state that when people use your work they should attribute it by including, “to the extent reasonably practicable, the URI, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated with the Work, unless such URI does not refer to the copyright notice or licensing information for the Work.”

    The magazine that uses your work should then need (in most cases) include the URI of your original work, enabling people to get access to the original that way. It’s not bullet proof, and there might be cases where it’s not “reasonably practicable”, but it might be a reasonable compromise.

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