Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Jump-1 JUMP系列 Photographer:老0

I landed in Beijing yesterday at 5AM from Los Angeles and am leaving today at 1PM for New York. From a logistical and environmental perspective, I think this was one of my stupider trips. However, from a content perspective, this was one of my best trips ever. I really met more interesting people, saw more interesting things and had more interesting conversations in a single day than I’ve had in a long time.

I started out the morning yesterday by giving at talk at cnbloggercon organized by Isaac Mao. I gave a talk about the sharing economy and got some interesting questions and hallway conversation about sharing in the context of China. I also got to meet a lot of the Chinese bloggers I only knew by name. Many thank for Isaac and his crew for organizing this excellent annual conference and sorry I haven’t made it over before.

Then I went to the Creative Commons China Photo Content ceremony at the National Library in Beijing. There were 10,000 submissions of professional and amateur works licensed under various CC licenses. There were three categories: Society, Nature and Portraits. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges including famous photographers, professors and other notable people. The photographs were amazing. There is a web page of the winning photographs. Don’t forget to click the link underneath the winning photos for the second place winner gallery.

While we have silly people in the West saying that for every free photo on Flickr a professional photographer loses their job, we have professional photographers in China licensing their best works under CC licenses. As far as I could tell, the amateur and professional photographers seemed integrated and supportive of each other.

After the awards ceremony, we have a workshop with presentations from an illustrious and interesting group of speakers. Overall a groundbreaking and well executed event. Congratulations Chunyan and the CC China team!

I’m uploading photos from my trip in a Flickr set. I found out yesterday that there is a Firefox Plugin to bypass the Chinese block on Flickr. Yay!


Glad to meet you @ Beijing. It's really a very great speech!
Anyway, will you upload your presentation to your blog :) ?

Great to meet you in person! No wonder you were in such a rush, that's an insane schedule and thanks for sharing with us.

I'm not sure professional photographers in China licensing their best works under CC licenses proves the existence of a livable alternative to the way photographs usually made a living before Flickr. I remember a friend living in China telling me how he could see the lack of respect for copyright, the omnipresent sentiment that people's intellectual creation is OK to take and copy without owing them anything, making it about impossible for anyone to live out of the sell of copyrighted work. So if chinese photographers put some of their best photo under CC, it might not be because they're willing to renounce to what they could have earned otherwise, but because they already had no other really monetizable market.

Flying out of the US to Asia and back again within 24 hours, thats the first time i have heard anyone do it. I have to say you didn't look exhausted at all. you should share your secret with all travelers.

It was great to finally to meet you in person!

jmdesp: While it is possible that it might be harder to make money as a photographer in China than in the US, licensing your photos with a CC license doesn't mean you can't earn money. If you use the non-commercial license for instance, you retain the commercial rights and give up only the revenue you might have made from selling your works to individuals or non-commercial entities, which is a relatively small portion of a photographer' income.

Also, CC is not anti-copyright nor does it show a lack of respect for copyright. CC uses copyright to protect certain rights such as attribution, while granting permission for other rights. I personally believe that CC helps people appreciate and understand copyright and what sorts of rights people can make choices about.

You bring up a very important topic in media, today. with the easy distribution and sharing of the Internet, how does a content/media creator stay on top of their work(s)? One option is to license a lesser quality version of their work, which keeps the original higher quality version under more of the artist's control. this keeps in the spirit of sharing, which the web represents, but reserves some rights for the author/photographer, etc. then one could capitalize on high quality works, assuming there is still demand for such. Maybe an artist would haave to market the higher quality work as more desirable, but maybe people would be satisfied with the lower quality license. Another option is "personalization". I'm trying to work up something for the music industry, on this, but it could alos apply to other forms of digital media, i.e. photography. The process would create a personalized signature to the digital data that would tie the consumer's personal info or slogan or whatever to the data. This would not necessarily be displayed or noticeable in the final "playing" or "display", but it could, if the creator wanted it to be. This would still be governed by a special license, but you could market the "sense of ownership" that would be created by this personalization. you could also track specific copies across the web, such that the Google guys might want to do, and you could possibly enact penalties for "theft", or misuse to protect "property" that was bought by another individual that was misued by another. Although, I'm not sure if more laws/regualtion is an answer, but it would be an option. I don't know, just some ideas I'm kicking around, and multi-tasking between. :)