To License or Not

A few days ago, a photographer by the name of Trey Ratcliff (of HDR, and stuckincustoms.com fame) posted his reasons for making his work available via the Creative Commons license. If you missed that post, it’s worth a read. You can find it here on Google+.

I have to agree with a lot of what he says. By sharing, you avoid a lot of headache, and you get your work seen more than if you have it squirrelled away under pay walls. Sort of like news these days, people will just go elsewhere for their fix.

Pretty much everything I’ve learned about computing, photography and technology has been via the commons. Sure, I’ve bought books and paid for seminars and workshops, but the day to day information has come from people sharing and me soaking that up. The way I look at it, sharing my photos for personal use is one way I can give back.

I share for personal use, but if you want to use it commercially, I hope you’d contact me about payment of one form or another. That’s much like me reading someone’s blog and then purchasing his ebook or donating to the site when I can. People can also access my photography by hiring me to do some specific work, so yes, payment is part of the model.

I guess it’s like a sales funnel. People can share to start, pay when they want to do more with the work I offer, and when they want something special, they hire me to get it done.

At some point, I may even create a storefront for what I consider the very best of my work. I’m not there yet, but I can’t rule it out.

There are lots of new business models floating around now. Different strokes work for different folks, so what works for me today, may not work for others. That’s what makes it so exciting these days – there is lots of room to experiment and try new things. Having been a scientist in another life, I like that.

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