Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

Astrophotography and Copyright

While trolling for awesome space pictures, I’ve noticed something a bit unusual. Images from sources like the Hubble Space Telescope or the European Southern Observatory are frequently public domain or released under a Creative Commons licence, which makes them a cinch to repost here: just give them credit and everyone’s happy. Amateur astrophotography, on the other hand, is usually much more restrictive: the photographer usually has a strict injunction on their website prohibiting republishing their photos elsewhere without prior permission. This is the opposite of other forms of photography: now it’s the pros who are giving their stuff away, and the amateurs watermarking their photos and invoking copyright. There’s lots of good amateur astrophotography on Flickr, for example, but hardly any of it is CC-licensed. Odd.