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October 28, 2005

Bubble 2.0 – Who Owns My Content? (comment)

Photographer Thomas Hawke responed to my previous post with a long comment.  Because the comment is so interesting and because it is invisible to anyone who reads my blog via RSS feed or email, I'm reposting the first few paragraphs here.  You can read the whole comment and join the discussion here or a slightly expanded version on Hawke's own blog here.

"As a Flickr user I'm getting ever bit of a fair deal. They pay for the bandwidth of my high resolution bandwidth intensive images. They provide my photographs visibility which might result in outside monetization. You never know, Flickr just MIGHT be creating other ways down the road for their users to monetize their portfolios.

Plus, by offering my photos, I in turn get to view EVERYONE else’s. It's called sharing -- hence photo sharing. At present I've got over 11,000 photos marked favorites at Flickr. Some of the most brilliant and creative work I've ever seen done with photography. If I had to pay to see all these photos I never would have. But that's the deal. It's a community of people sharing. I get to post my art and I get to see others great art in return (ad free as a Pro User I might add).

People are getting too worked up about this. It's not the users at Flickr who are complaining but all of the outside people who haven't really felt the richness of a full immersion into the flickr community.

Flickr represents not only an online community, but a way to unite photographers in cities across the U.S. who never would have met each other otherwise. I've gone on photo shoots with these people, gotten tips from them, shared stories with them. You can't put a price on the ability to create this kind of rich beautiful community."

It's an understatement to say he doesn't feel ripped off.

In the post on his site, he also says:

"Tom Evslin suggests that while community based 2.0 efforts are fine for non profit efforts like wikipedia, that when companies like Flickr make actual money and profit it is somehow less ok."

This is not what I meant to say so sorry if I sounded that way.  I said there was more controversy when the host site is for-profit but that I think the decision on whether or not to provide content and whether or not to pay cash compensation are the elements of a deal between the content provider and the service provider - not a moral issue even when the service provider is commercial.

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