Field of Sunflowers – Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives)

The image above is posted on Flickr as Creative Commons. It’s available for use by others, as long as there is attribution and it’s not modified or used for commercial purposes. Almost all of my images on Flickr and on my blog (including my writing) are licensed this way.

Do I have control over whether these guidelines are followed? No, but I trust that most people will respect the license. Here’s why I’ve come to this decision.

I believe in the culture of sharing and generosity.

1. My mission in life is to learn to see differently and to share what I’ve learned with others. I want these ideas to spread.

2. As a solopreneur, I rely on others to share my work to get the word out. The benefits in getting more people to my website are enormous.

We live in a different type of economy now – one of connection and sharing. We have the opportunity to spread our work widely in ways never before possible.

3. Although I do have images for sale at Imagekind, I don’t derive a large percentage of my income from the sale of images. I also believe most people will buy the image from me if they see one they like and want to hang it on a wall.

Note: My workshop content is copyrighted. At this point, I don’t want others sharing freely the content because it’s not fair to those who have paid to sign up for a class.

Here are some examples of successful online entrepreneurs whose work is mostly creative commons. Rather than quote their reasons, I’ve linked to articles where you can learn more.

Trey Ratcliffe is a wildly popular HDR photographer, whose images are exquisite.

Below is an example of a Creative Commons image by Trey found on Flickr.

trey ratcliffe, stuck in customs, bridges, zurich

Trey Ractcliffe (Stuck in Customs) – Bridges in Zurich – Creative Commons on Flickr

Images are meant to be seen and not hoarded. ~ Trey Ratcliffe licensing page

Trey Ratcliffe on Why I Don’t Use Watermarks.

Believe me, it’s quite liberating living in a world without internet-stealth-fear. ~ Trey Ratcliffe

Trey Ratcliffe on Why Photographers Should Stop Complaining about Copyright and Embrace Pinterest

A pure artist has two motivations: creation for the sake of creation and sharing for the sake of connecting with the world. ~ Trey Ratcliffe


Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen Habits, is one of the most popular on the Internet.

He goes even further with his “uncopyright.” Anyone can use his content, change it, and they don’t even have to give attribution. Radical, yes, but he says he’s made more money by doing this than he would have by holding tightly to copyright.

And while I’m certainly not da Vinci or Shakespeare, copyright hasn’t helped me, and uncopyright hasn’t hurt me. If someone feels like sharing my content on their blog, or in any other form for that matter, that’s a good thing for me. If someone wanted to share my ebook with 100 friends, I don’t see how that hurts me. My work is being spread to many more people than I could do myself. That’s something to celebrate, as I see it. ~ Leo Babauta

Here are a few very interesting articles by Leo on the subject.

On the Privatization of the English Language – how our trademarks and copyrights often go too far.

The Culture of Sharing – how copyrights protect corporations more than artists.

And, an extensive and well thought out e-book on Uncopyright by artist Gwenn Seemel – You Share Good.

I don’t begrudge anyone who copyrights or watermarks their image. It’s a personal choice. But I’d like to know – do you use copyright? Why or why not?


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This