Unless otherwise noted, all the photos and images I post on this website are released to the Public Domain.
All text on this website (stories, descriptions, blog posts, whatever) are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Public Domain is very simple. It means that all of the photos and images on this site are public property. In a very real and legally binding sense, they belong to you every bit as much as they do to me – so use them in whatever way you like. Put them in your blog, newsletter, book, graduate paper, website, newspaper, science fair project, whatever. Credit me, take credit yourself, credit no one or credit everyone. It’s all good. Seriously, treat them as if they were yours, because they are.
If you want to put a credit line with my name, about the only request I have is that you either post the URL to my website (www.KenThomas.us) for printed materials, or link here if you’re using the image online. The only reason I ask that is because if one of your readers really likes the image, having the web address allows them to come here and see a high-resolution version of it if they want.
Text is a little more complicated. The CCA3.0 license means you can share the text I post here, and you can edit and reuse the text I post here. You can even use the text I post here for commercial purposes, like in a book or a magazine. The only requirements are that you grant me attribution, and that you include either the address of this website (http://www.kenthomas.us) or a link to it.
So the attribution would look something like this:
Comments courtesy of Ken Thomas.
See? That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
Because text is something I create, whereas photos are something I take.
When it comes to photos, I’m not trying to make art here. I take pictures of things. About 99% of the time, those are things that don’t belong to me. Claiming that I own the rights to a picture of a mountain, or a tree, or a sunset, just seems absurd to me when I don’t own the mountain, the tree, or the sun. I realize most photographers would vehemently disagree with me, but that’s OK. I’m not a photographer. I’m a guy who takes pictures of things.
But will you…
Yes, I’ll sign your release form. I’ve signed a ton of them at this point, and I understand. There’s some guy in your legal department who has spent his career lecturing people about intellectual property, and the whole concept of public domain just makes his brain seize up. No big deal. Scan it and e-mail it to me and I’ll be happy to sign it.
But you sell…
Yes, I sell prints of the images on the site. Mostly that’s just because people kept asking me to sell them one. For the most part, I assume these are people who would prefer not to mess with printing themselves. There’s also the fact that preparing a photo for a quality print is a lot of fairly complicated work, and image files that make good prints are usually too large to post on a website or attach to an e-mail.
Selling a print is selling something tangible, and that makes sense to me – but the image itself isn’t mine. It’s ours.