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Creative Commons Licenses #WorldIntellectualPropertyDay


Story: Gage Skidmore a 22 year-old accounting student from Arizona of U.S., is photographer by hobby.

Over the past 6 years, Skidmore has posted close to 40,000 pictures of Presidential candidates and Hollywood celebrities to Flickr.

All of his photos are filed under a Creative Commons attribution license, allowing anyone to freely use them. As a result, he’s become the Internet’s go-to source for U.S. political photographs.

His shots are used by thousands of outlets, including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, etc.. His Flickr account has been linked to 30 million times. A “Gage Skidmore” Google image search turns up close to 500,000 results.

Funding his travels through GoFundMe campaigns, and donations raised from friends who shared his political beliefs.

He’s photographed, nearly every single candidate in the Presidential election: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Rand Paul, etc. He’s also have some amazing shots of President Obama.

All of his images are released under Creative Commons License. That is, they are 100% free to use — even commercially — so long as attribution is given.

When asked about why he releases in Creative Commons License, instead of selling them? He replied,

“Creative Commons is a vehicle that allows my photos to be received by a wide audience; it has also allowed me to get my name out there, and secure some money”.

Creative Commons(CC): CC licenses are a way for creators to take control of how they choose to share their copyrighted works, through simple text and image representations.

CC Licenses provides the creators with a possibility to promote sharing their creation and derivatives from their works, as contradictory to the nature of copy-right.

CC Licenses legally contradicts the basic principles of copy-right, restricting access to the knowledge, and making a creation as private property and prevent sharing or improvisation of it, by the idea called Copy-left.

Copy Left: It is an idea where creator shares his right in copy-right with every one in the world. Which includes, unrestricted usage, improvising and sharing.

Over the past decade Copy-left contents have grown tremendously, to have a glimps of its reach, 50 Crore images are in CC License. Also English Wikipedia, which has more than 3 crore pages in it is entirely CC Licensed and there are lot more languages supported by Wikipedia, and each one of them is released under CC License.

Digital Commons: Copy-left contents are part of Digital Commons, which is a common property between the 1% and the 99%.

As opposed to the natural resources which are physical, Digital Commons can not be depleted, they remain for ever as collective knowledge of the Humanity.

World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO): WIPO is one the organ of United Nations, which promotes and ensures the knowledge and creations should remain in private and with restricted sharing, through extended copy-right laws, vague patents, trademarks .

On April 26th, WIPO promotes the awareness on the idea of restricting knowledge and creativity, in the name of “World Intellectual Property Day”. They would justify the need to restrict the knowledge, and privatizing it. But lets us be clear on its effects, which prevents innovation and restricting us from enriching the collective knowledge of Humanity.

Let us utilize the opportunity to present and create awareness about the innovative alternatives as Creative Commons License to as many people as we can.

– Welkin

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