Tuesday, 12 November 2013

To whom it may concern

I believe in free speech, in that I think all ideas, however bad, are proven, improved or disproved by vigorous public debate. This applies, of course, to anything I say too.

However, I don't believe that anything I write here should be taken, selectively edited and retailed for profit in commercial outlets. I declined a request by BBC Countryfile magazine to use my photographs for free because it is a profit-making publication: if it was a charitable or free one, I'd have said yes. I don't take photos for monetary purposes (though if you'd like a high-resolution print of anything I've taken, I'm sure we can come to an arrangement)

I have therefore added a Creative Commons licence to Plashing Vole. Under this licence, anyone is free

to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
as long as

you give the author credit

you do not use it for commercial purposes

you do not alter, transform or build upon this work

However, I am happy to give a waiver on request: I've contributed to a number of reputable online and offline media outlets in the past and wouldn't want to stop (fellow bloggers and The Guardian are hereby awarded a permanent waiver of all conditions of use).

The purpose of this licence is simply to stop newspaper columns being based on distorted elements of this blog and comments made on it by third parties, for the purpose of making money. As the licence puts it, 'You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You… in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation'.

This doesn't, of course, prevent the 'fair use' of Plashing Vole for the purposes of commentary. It merely stresses the legal requirement for such material to be attributed and minimal, and subject to UK law's definition of 'fair dealing' which interestingly requires 'actual discussion or assessment' to justify inclusion.

In short: anyone is still free to critique me, but not to mine Plashing Vole for material as though it's just left lying around like autumn leaves. I'd love to freely exchange ideas in the public forum, but don't see why my work and that of my contributors should be treated as fair game for lazy hacks making money from faux-outrage. They get paid for incoherent rubbish - so should I!

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