In our previous blog post on Wikimedia Commons, we explained how wonderful a discoverability opportunity this platform can be for performing arts. Over our series of data literacy workshops, we further stressed that everyone in the performing arts has a need for good live performance photos: performers, designers, presenters, journalists, associations, etc. Free-use images make common sense. In this blog post, we’ll explain that publishing free-use images is actually easier than you might think.

Creative Commons licenses are quite awesome. They strike a balance between protecting the rights of the creator(s) of work and allowing reuse. They are also almost as easy to implement as an “all rights reserved” copyright license. Essentially, all you have to do is ask for permission from all parties – photographer, performers, designers – before a request for reuse is made rather than after.

Decision tree about obtaining and documenting consent for releasing a photo under a Creative Commons license.

Consent can be obtained retroactively, after the photo is taken and published. Our workshop contents include email templates to be sent to both the photographer and the artists.

However, it is easier if consent is obtained prior to taking and publishing the photos.

Here’s our recommended strategy for obtaining prior consent and publishing your photos under a Creative Commons license:

  1. Include consent clauses in your contracts with the photographer, with the performers and with the designers.
  2. Publish the photos under a Creative Commons license directly on your website.
    1. All you have to do is to include the license along with the credit in the photo caption. Include the license in the photo caption’s credit line as in this example: “Photo credit: Jane Doe, Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 license.” Voilà – your photo is licensed CC BY!

      Then, to increase the discoverability of your photos, you may additionally…
  3. Upload photos to Wikimedia Commons to enhance discoverability and enable reuse; and,
  4. Edit the original caption on your website to add a link back to Wikimedia Commons.

This four-step strategy is simpler and more time efficient than obtaining retroactive consent each time someone asks for permission to reuse a photo. Among other things, it makes it unnecessary to submit a declaration of consent to Wikimedia Commons.

For more information, check our tutorials, presentations and templates.

Past and upcoming workshops

Valoriser ses photos de productions avec Wikimedia Commons

May 18 and 25, 2023

Workshops facilitated in French on behalf of Association des théâtres francophones du Canada et de l’École nationale de théâtre

Event page

Strategically Using Production Photos to Increase Your Online Discoverability

February 22 and 24, 2023

Workshops facilitated in English on behalf of the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.

Part 1 and Part 2

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