As reported in Mashable.com, like Flickr yesterday, the photo site 500px is adding an option to tag your images with a Creative Commons (or as we like to call it, Creative Confusion) license. We again will say we find this a terrible option for photographers. That is unless you have a large trust fund or a multi-million dollar winning lottery ticket in your pocket, then a CC license might make some sense to you.
In our opinion, using a CC license to “help spread your photo and/or name” around does nothing in our opinion, other than allow others to use your images for free. Between us we know of very, very few photographers who made a living, secured a decent account or made any real money on “exposure” or as CC calls it, “attribution”. Our landlords and our corner deli sure don’t take “exposure”, compliments or attribution for a sandwich or rent in lieu of cold hard cash.
But photographers seem open to this type of deal. They do in fact drink the Kool Aid. There is no deception except in the photographer’s own mind. He/she thinks that this type of “free PR” will be great for the budding or even established career. Companies of all kinds who seek to obtain your work without paying you for it know that. They simply feed the dreams many budding photographers already have in their head. Frankly, we think you have a better chance of getting a winning lottery ticket than making any real money via CC license. People in the ad world get to know the names of those photographers who give their work away without charge. Not exactly a great way to convince those who write checks that your images are worthy of payment.
Instead of uploading your photos to these sites with a “take what you want” license, just send us, Ed and Jack, $5, $10, $25 or more and we’ll give you credit and put it on our site. Sound silly to you? Good, it should. Giving away your photos is a great deal for those who use your photos. But for you, buying a lottery ticket is in our opinion, a much better bet than using a CC Trojan Horse license.