Koinup, a virtual-worlds art-sharing site I wrote about a few weeks ago, announced a project today that they're calling "Pile-up." Members upload edited or unedited photos from virtual worlds, and other members edit or re-edit them. Basically, it's collaborative photo-editing - a pretty cool idea.
Of course, things can get a little bit complicated from the legal standpoint when you're giving the general public permission to edit the work of an artist, so KoiNUP is using the "Creative Commons," system of giving various types of permission on a photo-by-photo basis. This is a good idea, because it lets each artist (whether the original artist, or the editor, or the re-editor) choose whether others have permission to use their work and/or to modify their work. It also lets the various artists specify whether their work can be used for "commercial" purposes or not.
Wikimedia has been using the Creative Commons system on their photos for awhile, and the popular photo-sharing sites Flickr and Photobucket are using the system as well.
The system is great for artists, because it gives them a chance to share their work and expose their talent without having to wait weeks and weeks for official "copyrights." It's also great for bloggers and webmasters who need photos, because there's a plethora of free artwork available on these sites, within certain limits.
So, the next time you need a photo, consider searching for creative commons pictures.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.