Eric Radman : a Journal

On Licensing Photographs

When you design and create or build something your are its originator and therefore you are the copyright holder. For most physical objects this is not a deep concept because you cannot clone them. In software this is a huge concept because copying is not only possible but trivial. Licensing confers some of the properties of ownership to others, and allows you to distribute material digitally.

Before digitizing came along it was not possible to make a clone of a photograph because only one person (usually the copyright holder) had the positive or negative from which prints could be made. You could transfer ownership by handing them to someone else. If you use film to take photos this is still the case, but there is a new kind of artifact that can be licensed: the digital scan itself.

Photos are interesting for another reason: they are not information, they are reflections of subjects that you did not create. Licenses that deal with written documents (such as Creative Commons) don't account for this in any way. In order to give these rights back I use the following language to share the ownership of digital scans

Copyright:
  Eric Radman <ericshane@eradman.com>
  8 Tudor Dr. / Endicott, NY 13760

Release Date: July 13, 2015

Permission is granted to [Names-of-Persons] to copy, modify,
distribute, or re-license the photos listed at the URL/FILES below for
any commercial or non-commercial purpose with or without attribution.

URL: http://my.site/photos/...

File list:
  9990001.jpg
  9990002.jpg
  ...

When a corporation has requested a line of permission I will additionally add a paragraph that gives them the right to use these images

By extension, [Name-of-Corporation] and its associates are authorized
to use the photos listed in the URL below in any printed material they
produce or Internet-based content they maintain.

Last updated on November 26, 2016