Susan's Tweets

Photo Sharing Through Flickr & Creative Commons Licensing

I take photos because I love to look at the world through a camera lens and see what I can create and document. I take a camera of some sort with me everywhere. In the past year or so I've been taking some photography classes and I try to read about techniques that will improve my efforts. I joined the 365 Project last June to provide a structure for motivating me to take photos on a daily basis.

I like to share my photos, and I use Flickr to do that. The librarian in me loves the possibilities for description and tagging in Flickr. I have collections, sets and hundreds of tags, my way of organizing and providing access to almost 6,000 images at this point. I don't do photography to make a living, I do it for the love of the process and the art in it. So, I want to share my photos for others to enjoy and use. Flickr also provides the ability to easily apply  a Creative Commons license to my work. I have applied a "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives" license to my images which means I am happy for people to use them for non-commercial reasons if they give me attribution and don't make changes.

In recent months, I have been wondering whether anyone outside of my friends, family and colleagues ever  access or reuse my photos. In addition to being searchable through Flickr, they are indexed by Google. In Flickr, I can see my daily view statistics and can also see referring sites. This gives me a fairly good idea of which photos get viewed at what frequency and perhaps how people came across them.

My top viewed image is the one I took at Orient Club Nude Beach in St. Maarten. I left it public until it reached over 35,000 views. I decided I had proved my point that good tagging helps boost viewing and made the image private at that point.  My most viewed non-nude tagged photo that is still pubic is one of a Starbucks menu! Today it has had over 2,500 views. I wonder if that is because, as a policy, Starbucks doesn't allow photos (I sneaked this one when we were at the early stages of planning our Starbucks at ZSR)

Starbucks Menu

To find out if anyone is reusing my photos in some other context, I turned to Google searching. It has been most interesting to see where my photos have turned up. Here are links to some that I've found!

5 comments to Photo Sharing Through Flickr & Creative Commons Licensing

  • kate Sharpless

    Where are you able to view the # of times a photo has been seen?

  • Susan

    When you are logged into your account, go to you/stats and then look on the end of the column that says “yesterday” and see a link that says “all photos and videos” you can choose to sort by “all time views”

  • Susan,

    Mine is one of the blogs above-mentioned. It is a non-commercial blog meant to address educational issues and developments. Indeed the google index provided by WordPress is exactly how I found your photo, and it was by far the most relevant and interesting image for my post about

    I confess, I panicked a bit when I saw your trackback because I thought perhaps I hadn’t given proper attribution (although I would never use someone else’s work and claim it as my own!)

    I will be interested to see some more of your public photos. Thanks for checking out your work on my page!

  • I just saw one of your photos on someone else’s blog (Information Tyrannosaur) about the ACRL conference. You took a great picture that fit into Andy Burkhardt’s post very well.

    Once you apply Creative Commons licensing to your photos and allow others to use your photo under certain circumstances, are you allowed to go back and change your mind later?

    Another way Creative Commons expands your photography’s reach is that people who are LOOKING for photos can search for photos that exclude anything that lacks the CC tag.

  • Susan

    @Will Marlow: It’s technically feasible to change the license after it’s set. You can set a default license that will automatically be applied to new photos, but there is the functionality to change each photo individually.

    However, this would not mean that if someone had used your work under a certain license that he/she would have to comply with a changed license. In the FAQ section of the Creative Commons site ( this is spelled out:

    “Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work. So you need to think carefully when choosing a Creative Commons license to make sure that you are happy for people to be using your work consistent with the terms of the license, even if you later stop distributing your work. “

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