Steal my content, please!

I was just reading feeds before heading to the second day’s events at LeWeb3 conference in Paris. Along comes Susan Mernit’s blog, who quotes Lane Hartwell, who is pissed that people steal her photographs. She’s decided to take all of her Flickr photos out of the public eye.

Me? I’m wondering why she doesn’t move them all to SmugMug and put a watermark on them? SmugMug’s CEO showed me that feature, along with a feature that lets photographers sell their work in my recent tour/interview/demo video.

But, I’m not like Lane. I’ve spent more than $5,000 on equipment in my recent photographic career (and it is a career at this point, because I have sold a few photos in my life, including two that recently were printed in San Francisco magazine).

Me? I’m the opposite of Lane. I WANT YOU to steal my content. In fact, next year I’m going to do stuff to make all my content available via Creative Commons license so you can use it whereever and whenever, including my video shows. I’d like a credit, yes, but don’t demand it. I’d rather just add to the human experience and if that means that other people make money off of my work, so be it.

I’ve found that the more I give away my content, the more magical stuff happens to me anyway and if that means my photos or writings or videos get used in some way that I don’t really like, well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Lane obviously is not.

Plus, today I have a little less competition from Lane, who was a great photographer but who’s work will be hard to discover now.

I guess she hasn’t learned the lesson that the New York Times recently learned: when you try to hold onto your content too tightly fewer people are able to find it.

Me? I’ve found that most people won’t steal content outright and, will, instead steal it with a link back to the original. iProng, for instance, asked me to use my photo. I said “sure” and didn’t ask for any compensation. They gladly gave me a credit in their cool interview with Facebook’s Joe Hewitt (he wrote the iPhone app, which is still my favorite iPhone application). So my photo gets widely seen, along with my name. How did iProng find me? A Flickr search, how else?

So, steal my content please!