Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Perils and Prides of Public Domain Photography

I've already mentioned that I like taking photographs. Once conditions get warmer, days get longer, and the environment becomes altogether more amenable for photo-taking, you're probably going to be reminded of that a lot more. You might have seen some of mine already if you read Wikipedia, where I release them under the name GTD Aquitaine. Not that I'm the only GTD Aquitaine on INTERNET; I'm not the only one who fell in love with FreeSpace 2 back in the day.

I release all but a fraction of my photos to the public domain (and those that I don't, I send out under Creative Commons licenses), mainly because I believe that a vital public domain is necessary in the modern age and that it is our responsibility to contribute to it, not gather things up and lock them away. Anyone who comes across a public domain photo of mine can use it for whatever they'd like, and often do.

Recently I came across an article in World News, apparently drawn originally from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, accompanied by one of my photos. Seeing it credited to GTD Aquitaine was rewarding; previously, when I've seen one of my photos used, the user has just cited Wikipedia. Which isn't a problem, but--

The story refers to the closure of Highway 401. The photograph accompanying the release is, however, of Highway 427.

Public domain can make photographs free; the facts will usually cost you extra.


  1. Hi Andrew,

    Glad to see another person who dedicates works to the public domain.

    I recently created a wiki called "Set Free" that you might be interested in. It lists notable works dedicated to the public domain.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the note of confidence! I'll have to check your place out, and start creating more stuff to release into the public domain besides.

    Can't help but be curious how you stumbled upon here, though. Not that I mind the knowledge that at least one "someone else" is reading this all.