In a recent post I mentioned that I have the attribution, share alike, non-commercial creative commons license on my Flickr site. I also mentioned that I sometimes get contacted with a request for use of a photo – usually by a tourism agency wanting to advertise their holidays. I know they are going to make money from their holidays, but I have never yet refused.
This week for the very first time I paused before agreeing to a request for a photo. This is the photo – an environmental sculpture in Cumbria, UK, where I live.
Andy Goldsworthy – Tilberthwaite Touchstone Fold
And this is a photo of the sculpture in situ.
Andy Goldsworthy is a well known English environmental artist and sculptor, who has worked on many sheepfolds. See this list http://www.sheepfoldscumbria.co.uk/html/info/list.htm
This was the request I received by email:
I am currently acquisitioning photos for a new Smithsonian Museum on Main Street (museumonmainstreet.org) exhibit titled “Crossroads” about the last 100 year change of rural America. It’s going to travel to 180 communities across 30 states and will be on view from 2018-2025. We came across one of your photos.
We would love to use this photo for our exhibit. If you would like to proceed, would you mind letting me know how you would like this photo to be attributed/credit? I will also send a license agreement
I was puzzled by this request. I didn’t know anything about the Smithsonian Museum, so I looked it up and found it was genuine, but I didn’t know why they wanted this photo, which didn’t seem to fit with their exhibition. So I replied:
Thank you for your email.
The license I have for all my photos is CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Could you let me know how you would be using this photo within the terms of this license. I am a little puzzled as your exhibition is about rural America and this is the work of a well-known English Artist in rural England. How would it fit with your exhibition?
In principal I am happy for you to use the photo, but before agreeing would like a little more information.
I was concerned about how their use of a photo of Andy Goldsworthy’s work would affect him. Surely if they wanted to use a photo of his work, they should contact him.
In the event the museum decided not to use my photo, replying:
We have decided to not pursue this photograph anymore because of the outside range (as you pointed at, this art piece is in England).
Thank you for your time and I apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.
For me this raises the interesting issue of whether the photo I took of Andy Goldsworthy’s work was indeed mine to put a license on.