do you have a ‘please use’ policy?

You create wonderful things. Your ideas are unique. Your vision, original. You need to create and the world needs your creations. Your art – be it paint or ideas or sculpture or joy or freedom or stitches – could change the world.

And then you hide it, protect it, chain it up and apply duct tape.

You fear the copycats and cheaters. It’s 7th grade and you fear the girl who sneaked peeks at your test no matter how hard you tried to cover your answers. You fear the repercussions of iterations beyond your control.

Your fears are real. They’re justified by human nature and everyday experience.

But when you hide from the cheaters and kidnap your art away from the copycats, you also steal it away from those who could use it, from those who need it. You conceal it from those who could spread your work to far corners you cannot reach.

Consider instead, giving your life’s work a “please use” policy.

I would never, ever suggest that you devalue your work or play chicken with your passion. It’s important to draw a line – no one should profit from work you’ve done. Consider reasonable bounds: what guidelines can you put in place to be as generous with your work as possible while maintaining your integrity?

Generosity has a way of coming back to you. Be generous with your art and see it come back to you many times over.

I’ve decided to post “please use” policies on each of my blogs. Please quote me, repost me, use my images, riff off me, disagree with me, converse me. Just credit me with a link.

Do you have a “please use” policy? How can you create one that maintains the integrity of your work?

{ image above from my photoblog – fotos }

13 thoughts on “do you have a ‘please use’ policy?

  1. I have the same exact policy on my blog. As long as you link back – feel free to take.
    I also credit every image I use on my blog that was not taken by me. In addition, some shops/blogs/websites ask that you request a permission to use their photos and I then either go ahead with the request or move on. It’s not worth offending someone and their ‘please use” policy.

  2. What a great post Tara! I don’t currently have a please use policy, but I will be writing one, for sure.

    I love the idea of sharing with credit and I love to share other peoples work so that they can be seen by different people.

    Great idea.

  3. That is funny Tara! The ‘please use policy’ is actually benefit for the on-line community, especially when you make your living as a blogger and on-line marketer. That is a lesson number one to make it big. I find it interesting that it has to be pointed out like this.

    For me, physical object artist, the term handmade means unique no matter what. Yes, my ideas and designs can and will be copied, why not, I am proud of them. But the original will always be original, no matter what.

    Besides, all art is derivative, there is no original if you look at it from the historical perspective. So if you give someone or something a credit, it is better for you in so many ways. First you know yourself better, because you are able to figure out your influences. Second, you give back to the community and your influences by opening up a perspective to the potential students, influence them more, and hence build the name for your self.

    It is such a closed circle. The world be a better place if more people would understand that in other aspects of everyday life too. :)

  4. This is a great post, and a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot since this summer. I have a creative commons license on all my work: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

    Are people going to steal? Maybe. But I’m with you on this issue…better to take the risk and bring your work to the greater market than limit your opportunities out of fear.

  5. I’m with you on this too!

    And Adaleta – I agree wholeheartedly – I have a creative commons not for profit licence on both my fun/crafty blogs and on my professional training blog. I teach my students to use cc images and attribute and I expect my teachers to do the same!

    Great post :)

  6. @Sarah I completely agree with you, Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/ and the ability to not be trapped and labeled by the “Big C” is such a freeing and community based concept. CC allows for me to not only be inspired by others I find online via Blogger or Flickr, but give them the credit for inspiring me. I only wish more people understood what Creative Commons is and how it can be used in a positive, yet protective way.

  7. As a normally generous person, I’m puzzled by the jealousy I feel for my own work. I will often guard the creations I am most pleased with.
    Perhaps it is time to throw it all wide open – as Brigitte said, it’s better to take the risk than be limited by fear.
    Thanks for the link to creative commons – this is stuff I need to know!

  8. great post! to be honest I hadn’t given it much thought. Sure I had a little copyright policy on my blog and I would be happy to allow others to quote me, use my images with a link back to me, I just didn’t think to spell it out for anyone. So now I have! I have heard of creative commons as well but, again hadn’t given it much thought so, I will look into that site as well. Thanks for the resources and for getting me to think!

  9. I agree with Kristen, as long as credit is given & there is a link back, there isn’t much of a problem. I also didn’t of spelling this out, writing policies, instead, for those who use & take without credit/take the credit for their own. Maybe a rewrite to change the focus of my policies is in order…Thank you for making us think in a different direction.

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