On the downside of freely sharing stuff


This blog is published under a creative commons license (specifically, the non-commercial use, with attribution license) - chosen to let folks rip/mix/burn whatever they found useful. I really believe that type of sharing is important.

Regardless, I was a bit surprised to find this obvious homage to my blog design (well, to K2 and my tweaks), which closely mimics my blog's current appearance - right down to recycling each and every one many of my blog banner images (which have been removed since I posted this).

My initial reaction was a quick "dude, that's so not cool. use the design, but at least come up with your own banner images!" But, what's being done is completely within the bounds of the CC license - attribution is being given, and it's a non-commerical endeavor. So, I decided to let it slide. It's understandable - the license I use allows it, and I even provide a full colophon listing the various off-the-shelf bits that twiddle to make up this blog.

So, while the CC license is a Very Good Thingâ„¢ for fostering reuse, it can also be a bit of a mixed blessing. It's really weird - I'm totally fine with people doing pretty much whatever they want with the text, as long as they're clear about not blatantly ripping me off. But seeing the images on some else's blog just felt strange, and not in a good way.

What does that say about images vs. text? What does that say about my relationship with the banner images? They are all taken by myself, at various stages in life (one from the beach we got married on, one from the hospital room Evan was born in, etc...), at various locations in my travels (Hawaii from NMC2005, more photos of San Francisco than are warranted on a blog by a Calgarian, etc...). Each one means something special to me. To see them on someone else's blog, where they are essentially stripped of that meaning and are being used simply because they're pretty pictures, just doesn't feel right.


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