Wikipedia And Creative Commons

Last modified on April 15th, 2008

I received an email a while ago from an editor at Wikipedia, asking me if I would mind if they using one of my juno photos on a page. The only catch is that they wanted me to change the license of the photo to allow for commercial use and derivative works.

I’m a big fan of Wikipedia — I use it all the time. So I really wanted to help those guys out and let them use my photo. Since I paid for the entire Juno trip myself, I have a hard time actively letting other people make money from my work. As a compromise, I offered to grant Wikipedia a non-revokable license for use of that photo on their site, but wanted to maintain the non-commercial license for people using the photo.

They came back and said that wasn’t possible, and that they were worried that if someone took the photo from Wikipedia and used it commercially that they would be held liable. To me, it’s not a very good argument, considering the same thing can happen on Flickr any day of the week. But it is what it is.

So, in the end I turned them down, which I’m actually kind of bothered by. I don’t think I’m in the wrong as I really feel strongly that other people shouldn’t profit from my work. I already let people use all the photos anyway for non-commercial use, but just feel like changing the license to allow for commercial usage was a pretty big request.

Any comments?