PetaPixel

Allowing Free Use of Your Photos Could Actually Save Your Business

Could allowing the use of your photos for free actually be a way to increase income? Portrait photographer Jonathan Worth — the man behind Coventry University’s free photo courses — used to send take-down notices to any website that shared his work without permission. Then he met author Cory Doctorow, a proponent of Creative Commons licensing, who suggested that he try giving away his work for free. Worth then made a high-res photo freely available online and quickly sold 111 signed prints, netting him £800 (~$1,270).

The British Journal of Photography writes,

Worth is now a dedicated Creative Commons fan, usually using the CC BY-NC – which requires that commercial users pay for it, and that he is always credited. Non commercial users are free to use it as they choose.

[...] “It’s not a silver bullet but it was ground-breaking for me,” he says. “By making fans part of the process, they effectively do my publicity. I’m represented by Google now, and because I’m not paying for an agent I can sell for less and still make a profit.”

To Worth, copyright laws are part of a 20th century legal framework that doesn’t fit 21st century technology or practices

The Creative Commons recently launched a publication titled The Power of Open that provides an overview of the licenses and shares stories of artists who found success through CC licensing — Worth’s included.

Freetard or visionary? [British Journal of Photography]


Image credit: Creative Commons by Kalexanderson


 
 
  • http://www.georgewheelhouse.com George Wheelhouse

    I’ve switched CC on and off a few times on Flickr. Can never decide which to stick with. To be honest, this article doesn’t really explain how CC generated sales.

  • http://twitter.com/mauriciomatos Mauricio Matos

    Lets see…111 prints for $1270? Would love to know the size of the prints. Doesn’t seem such a good deal to me :)

  • David Kozlowski

    On the other hand, what to do when someone steals your images, posts them to Flickr as their own, and also to their commercial website without permission?

    PLEASE DON’T STEAL MY PHOTOS!  You’ll only end up going to hell and make me more irritable than normal.  Thx.

    http://www.dallasphotoworks.com/2011/09/09/please-dont-steal-my-photos-vandalism-09425/

  • David Kozlowski

    On the other hand, what to do when someone steals your images, posts them to Flickr as their own, and also to their commercial website without permission?

    PLEASE DON’T STEAL MY PHOTOS!  You’ll only end up going to hell and make me more irritable than normal.  Thx.

    http://www.dallasphotoworks.com/2011/09/09/please-dont-steal-my-photos-vandalism-09425/

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNeillPhoto P Neill Photography

    CC ppl Im a Pro Music Photographer and this has inspired me & I’m thinking going CC BY on my work. thoughts? http://www.ShootTheSound.com  thoughts???

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNeillPhoto P Neill Photography

    In the light of this post I have decided to offer some U2, Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas and Ke$ha work under the CC BY License:

    http://shootthesound.com/2011/09/the-creative-commons-experiment/

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNeillPhoto P Neill Photography

    In the light of this post I have decided to offer some U2, Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas and Ke$ha work under the CC BY License:

    http://shootthesound.com/2011/09/the-creative-commons-experiment/

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNeillPhoto P Neill Photography

    In the light of this post I have decided to offer some U2, Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas and Ke$ha work under the CC BY License:

    http://shootthesound.com/2011/09/the-creative-commons-experiment/

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNeillPhoto P Neill Photography

    In the light of this post I have decided to offer some U2, Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas and Ke$ha work under the CC BY License:

    http://shootthesound.com/2011/09/the-creative-commons-experiment/

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com bob cooley

    111 signed prints – for $1270?   That’s $11.44 for a signed print.   If you read the article, there was also a LOT of time that went into this project (promotion, and don’t exclude the time-costs of printing/editing, Signing prints, prepping for shipping, etc. etc).

    That’s a HORRIBLE rate.   Even the ‘free’ publicity, this isn’t going to net a long-term result.  Good business?  notsomuch.

    I get the principle behind CC works, but its not proven to be a viable business model.

  • http://facebook.com/swiftmed Andrew MacDonald

    Out of interest, are you even allowed to do that? I am also a music photographer, and I get into concerts via the usual press accreditation methods, shoot from the pit etc, however, the resulting pictures are to be used in “editorial” only. 

    I can understand giving away for personal use, however, if you are selling signed prints for personal gain, you are violating the terms by which you was originally granted access to the concerts, leaving yourself open to lawsuits. 

    I might be wrong, you might have gained access under a different license, however, usually shooting live music concerts and the selling of those images is a big no-no in that industry. Your usually given access and can only use the images editorially (blog, newspaper or magazine)