some rights reserved

There is a new trend in my inbox. People emailing to ask my permission to link to this or that and a few people who seem to be actually policing the internet on my behalf. So I guess I’ll just go ahead and weigh in on the copyright issue. Here are my two cents.

my personal preferences:

I’m going to start with these because this may be all people want to know and they can stop reading and also it’ll set you up for the rest of my bit.

You do not need to ask my permission to

  • link to a post of mine (actually you don’t need anyone’s permission if you’re just linking)
  • add a permanent link to my site on your site (thanks btw!)
  • post linked and cited photos or excerpts of my text from my site. you can either grab them and put them on your server or use the direct link to them.

Now please do not think (or worry) I am giving permission for people to take my images and put them up uncited and unlinked on their site or that I’m giving people permission to scrape my site and throw it up on their ad-bearing site or inviting crazies who want to pull my rss feed into their blog and pretend they are me. I’m obviously not. The thing is, those people don’t give a shit what I’m saying here. They will do what they want regardless and I do not wish to treat every visitor to my site as if they are that person.

my reasoning:

To me, it’s what the internet and blogging are all about — quick and easy dissemination of information. Sharing of ideas. Without linking to other people’s content half the sites I read would disappear, Boing Boing, Go Fug Yourself, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, Whip Up, etc. The idea behind this sharing is fair use which allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, such as use for scholarship or review. Certainly infringement happens and content is misused. Such vulnerability is an inherent risk in putting any content out for the world to see. For me, the benefits considerably outweigh the risks.

from the creative commons website:

Too often the debate over creative control tends to the extremes. At one pole is a vision of total control — a world in which every last use of a work is regulated and in which "all rights reserved" (and then some) is the norm. At the other end is a vision of anarchy — a world in which creators enjoy a wide range of freedom but are left vulnerable to exploitation. Balance, compromise, and moderation — once the driving forces of a copyright system that valued innovation and protection equally — have become endangered species.

Creative Commons is working to revive them. We use private rights to create public goods: creative works set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, our ends are cooperative and community-minded, but our means are voluntary and libertarian. We work to offer creators a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare "some rights reserved."

Thus concludes my book report on copyright and the internet. Thanks for listening!

Tomorrow, buttons 🙂 Or maybe make-a-long if I can get some work done.

30 thoughts on “some rights reserved

  1. Lindsey says:

    Love your descriptions! That is exactly how I feel also. It’s kind of sad that we have to think/worry about things at all, but the whole reason I started my blog was to share my projects and ideas. I’m still trying to think that most people are good, so we’ll just leave it at that!

  2. Debby says:

    Thank you, thank you. Best book report ever. Like Lindsey pointed out, most of us are good people. And if we goof please let us know. Very new to doing the blogging thing (why mine isn’t all that interesting yet, hopefully that will change in the coming months). Love reading yours and enjoy all that is in it.

  3. Claire says:

    Well said! I love your blog and your creations. They are so unique and well done. An imposter obviously wouldn’t have the love for your craft that you do. Yours is the very first craft blog I happened upon (I truly have no idea how I came across you!) and I check it daily to see what you are making. It really is a highlight of my day!
    On an entirely different note…do you think you might have a stichettes galley some day? I would love to see what people are doing with their Stichettes. I just got mine in the mail yesterday (I am soooo in love with them)and it would be cool to see what others are creating.
    Love what you do!

  4. Brooke says:

    What a great way to put it! I really appreciate this post and the no-stress attitude you have about the whole issue.
    And we’re looking so forward to the next pages in the make-a-long!

  5. erin says:

    thanks for sharing your thoughts Hillary – i can’t understand why someone would try to take credit for another’s work or photos. i guess i am naive because obviously there are people out there doing it.

  6. Strikkelise says:

    Sorry, maybe because I’m not a native speaker, I don’t quite get what you mean with “post linked and cited photos”.
    Do you mean that one can grab one of your photos and post it elsewhere, as long as it is for the purpose of citing you, as well as linking back to you?
    Thanks for writing this, there’s a lot of interesting discussion going on these days about copyright.

  7. hannah says:

    um, can we still be hillary for halloween? 🙂
    just kidding, and really now that i think about it, not that funny. eah. we love you lady, thanks for sharing you with us.

  8. manda says:

    Well said Hillary. You have very succinctly summed up exactly how I feel about the subject. So much so in fact that I may save myself the entire evening it takes me to write a post, and just link to this one. Yay.
    Seriously though, well said.

  9. amy . says:

    great post!! you said so much about such a huge topic.
    what you expressed and how you expressed it demonstrates the freedom of this amazing medium and I thank you for that.
    what I love about this post is that you have only applied it to yourself, and rightly so-I don’t think there is a right answer or policy that should be applied to every blogger.(police state!) We all have different expectations, rules for ourselves, and assumptions-it up to each blogger to be upfront with what they are comfortable with. Thanks so much for talking about this and giving us this additional creative commons info

  10. emily says:

    “those people don’t give a shit what I’m saying here”…
    Hillary, not only are you one smart cookie and a level 1,000 craftista.
    You are also damn funny.

  11. stephanie says:

    hey hillary, thanks for weighing in on this and taking the time to better explain how the creative commons copyright works. excellent job.
    i do think that for some people who maintain personal blogs, the cc can feel a little too open which is why it’s good to be able to maintain full copyright over photos and content (and have the expectation that people will honor it). now that i’ve changed the content of my blog, i have thought of changing over to a creative commons copyright, but at the end of the day, i still would like control over how and why one of my photos is used (risks outweighing benefits for me at this point in time). however, i don’t feel that my copyright is in any way infringed by someone linking to my site or to a specific post or photo, and I should probably be more clear about that (and save myself some emails as well).

  12. hillary says:

    I think it’s important that anyone who maintains any kind of blog should be aware that no matter what the level of copyright they have on their site, fair use still applies to their content.

  13. stephanie says:

    you’re right about fair use (it’s why i ultimately decided to change the content of my blog). i think the fair use issue is a bit foggy right now, but i think having discussions like this is what will ultimately define and clarify it for our medium (craft/art blogs).
    i guess what i meant was that i maintain full copyright as a way to let others know how i *feel* about the use of my ideas – not what will hold up in court, but what my expectations are. it’s not a threat; it’s a request.

  14. natalie says:

    Thanks Hillary! As a craft blog editor you make my job easier. I’ve run into snarky crafters who don’t want photos or links to their site up — when all I’m doing is showcasing their work. I agree this is what the Internet and blogging is all about.

  15. Julie says:

    You’d think that common sense and a bit of ‘Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By” would be enough to make people realise it’s not right to pinch content from others. You put it perfectly – well written Hillary.

  16. patricia says:

    this is a wonderful post, hillary!
    i was lucky enough (i think, come to think of it, he was a stickler!)to work in a library with a copyright specialist but still, this helps me feel less paranoid now…thx so much…

  17. Mia says:

    Thanks you have really made my own thoughts a lot clearer and I really appreciate your readiness to give information. It is generous and kind and I know that is always rewarded.
    Have a great day!

  18. Alison says:

    What a levelheaded way of summing it all up…
    My biggest question as a relatively new blogger (at least in the art/craft realm) has been whether people would mind if I put a link up to their blog in my links section/blogroll, especially since some of the bloggers I really enjoy reading seem so busy … so I’ve wondered if emailing them would annoy or flatter… and I appreciate your perspective.

  19. Lillian says:

    You are generous, kind, and very smart lady. It seems that everyone is a control freak these days, so it is so refreshing to read something sane and reasonable. Thank you very much.

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