A Haiti Followup

It’s hard to believe I was in Haiti only seven months ago. It’s a weird dichotomy of feeling like time has been going both very fast and very slow, all at once.

YouTube finally decided to allow uploads greater than 10 minutes, so I thought I’d share a video slide show I put together1. Click through to see the HD version (worth it, I think).

Since my group went to Haiti in January, UPC has sent two more groups: one was a team similar to ours (i.e. short term, 10 day mission), the other is team of engineering students from the UW sent by UPC for World Deputation.

Team Haiti: Adam, Jeff, and Jordan

18.0 mm || 1/60 || f/3.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Seattle, Washington, United States

They’re just about ready to return, but have been keeping a blog detailing some of the work they’ve been doing and fun they’ve been having:

On a related note, Bruce and Deb are going to be in Seattle in September and we’re going to get to have dinner with them!

  1. including some wonderful CC-licensed music from Arthur Pope 

Using My Photos

I’m currently getting ready to write a very sternly worded letter to a person who has, again, used by photos illegally. As I have stated numerous times (see here, here, here, here, and on practically all of my 14000 photos where it says “Some rights reserved“), almost all my work is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

I have received several requests over the years to use my pictures (even though you don’t legally have to ask as long as you following the licensing) and I have always said something to the effect of, “Yes! Please use them! Thanks for letting me know! Let me know if you need help finding other photos as well!” I have never turned down someone from using a photo yet, even when the use is borderline commercial (they had my permission to continue, so it was all kosher).

In an effort to help education people, I have also taken to providing a very nicely worded text file on all the CD/DVD’s I produce or emails I send people with photos attached or linked to, stating the licensing terms and providing helpful information. I feel like I’ve done a lot to make my photos easily accessible while also making it easy to understand and comply with the licensing rules.

Here’s my question: Do you think I’m asking to much that in return for using my photos, users provide a simple attribution line? I’ve invested a lot of time, money, and energy into these photos. I hate having to play the role of enforcer (which is more time and energy). What would you do? I try to be nice about the whole thing, but I honestly feel like a dick sometimes for having to enforce these rules1

Letter sent. And CC’d to legal and PR.

  1. yes, I know it’s my legal right, etc, etc 

More On Copyright

My cousin Amanda1 wants to know:

I just finished a painting and I wanted to put it on Facebook, but I need to know about copyright stuff, if I put it on Facebook does that give the Facebook people right to it?

Editors note: edited for grammar and such.

The short answer is yes.

Facebook has something called a “Terms of Service”2. It’s a long document, but the part you’re going to be interested in is near the top, section 2 “Sharing Your Content and Information.”

Part 1 reads: “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

I’m not a lawyer, but when you put content you create (such as a picture of your painting) on Facebook, you automatically give them certain rights. However, as soon as you delete the content, the rights you gave them are automatically rescinded unless your content has been shared with others who have not deleted it.

Copyright is a very interesting subject and one that is not very well understood by many people. I’d encourage you to learn more about it. A good place to start would be Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I may not be able to answer all of them, however I can also ask my roommate who’s in law school.


I also sent an email to Auntie, just to make sure everyone is on same page and to (hopefully) provide a Teaching Moment™:

Amanda was asking me about copyrights, which I’m more than happy to give my two cents on in my non-lawyer capacity. However, I’m rather passionate about copyright (or more appropriately, the abuse of copyright and the rights of people) and was hoping this could turn into one of those “teaching moments” I so often hear about from my parents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (sort of like the ACLU for the electronic age) has a website called “Teaching Copyright” (http://www.teachingcopyright.org/) which provides (for free) a curriculum for teachers to “present the laws surrounding digital rights in a balanced way.”

I think there’s lots of confusion about what copyright is and isn’t. The current copyright (and patent and trademark) system is (in my opinion) a mostly vile shell of what the original intention behind the system was. Yes, strong words, but also words I believe to be accurate. Anyway, I’d encourage you take a look. The site is pretty decent and while not comprehensive, at least gets the ball rolling.

You may also be interested in Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/), which “provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors.” An example of this would be my website (https://andrewferguson.net/some-rights-reserved/) and almost all of my photos.

As always, feel free to ask lots and lots of questions.


I’m curious where copyright and the like is headed. I’ve been fed-up with the current system a little while now, but I’m usually on the early side of the “early adopters”. My hope is, of course, that we are starting to see more uptick in the desire to return to the origins of the copyright, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”3

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model. Copyright 2007 Natebailey, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5.

  1. who is, incidentally, the sister of my cousin Nick 

  2. http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf 

  3. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution 

In BOSS Magazine

I think I would categorize this under “Creative Commons Success Stories.”

I was contacted a few months ago by publication company, Alter Communications, inquiring if they could use some of my photos in an upcoming issue of BOSS magazine, a quarterly publication for Dixon Valve & Coupling Company. This was during my Europe trip and I happened to be in Turkey at the time; but I was able to work everything out over email with Kim, the senior graphic designer, in just a few hours – which I think is quite amazing. All I really wanted was a byline credit and some copies of the magazine when it came out, and Kim was happy to provide both.

Fast forward to about a week ago, a flat package arrived for me at home. Inside were a couple copies of BOSS magazine, with a personal note (hand written, none the less) thanking me for the use of my pictures. I was pretty stoked. You can see the online version here: BOSS Magazine Fall 2009, or swing by my place if you want to see the hard copy.

Boss Magazine/Fall 2009 – Pages 12-13:
Boss Magazine - Fall 2009 - Pages 12 and 13

Boss Magazine/Fall 2009 – Page 14:
Boss Magazine - Fall 2009 - Page 14

As a side note, these were the still in the days1 I was shooting JPG2. To be honest, the photos weren’t that good, at least in my opinion. Had they been RAW, I would have been able to do quite a bit to pretty them up. But hey, if it works: it works!

Here are the original pictures: Fireworks moments before colapse and The Stardust collapsing.

  1. Jeez, I make that sound like it was 20 years ago or something..it was about 3 

  2. instead of RAW, which I do now 

Copyrighting Your Work

My cousin Nick wants to know:

My question is about copywriting my pictures. To my knowledge every picture I make or take is copywrited just because I did it. I was wondering if putting “all images copyright john doe 2008” on the bottom of every page of my website would cover me, or do I need to do something else?
And should I copyright them to my name or my website? (“copyright john doe 2008” or “copyright ABCompany.com 2008”)

Note: Don’t forget that I am not a lawyer (IANAL). These are merely my understandings and thoughts.

Under current United States laws, anything you make is automatically copyrighted. Additionally, you can submit your work to the United States Copyright Office for a fee, however I have never done this and don’t think it’s worthwhile.

To my knowledge, adding the “All images copyrighted by…” phrase does not offer any additional legal protection. If you were to add the phrase, I would use your name, since that’s the legal entity that owns the copyright.

I’d also like to take a second to mention something called Creative Commons. Almost all 10,000 of my photos and most of my blog is released under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons allows you to retain the copyright, however it lets others use your work with specific requirements.

For example, most of my work is released under a By-Attribution, Share-Alike, Non-commercial license. This means that anyone is allowed to use my photos as long as it’s for non-commercial work (i.e. they can’t make money off of it), if they modify my work they must share it under a similar license, and they must attribute me.

I’d suggest you take a look at: http://creativecommons.org/

I hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions.