License Troubles: Wikipedia vs. Flickr

I’m making slides for classes and for a talk.

I’d like to use images in these slides to make them less horrible to look at. I do not draw and even my diagraming skills are limited. I can take photos reasonably, but I can’t track everything I need, much less compose a photo while generating slides. This leaves the web! Yay! Lots of images!

But then…licenses. Damn. Ok, Creative Commons has been on the job for decades now. Google Image search will even filter by license type. Yay!

Wikipedia has lots of useful images. I often use them. But they don’t have everything. I find a nice image which seems perfect: A photo of an antique wooden French flat file cabinet.

I’d love to use this as my illustration of “flat file” database. License looks ok, non-commercial…

But wait, is my use non-commercial or commercial? What’s the rule for education use? Looking…not obvious. the CC website isn’t super helpful, then I find:

he NC licenses may not be compatible for remixing with many works. For example, a person may not remix BY-SA content (such as Wikipedia content) with BY-NC content.

Well, damn. Most Wikipedia content is copylefted (which is annoying as I don’t necessarily want my slides unrestrictedly reused, but whatev; I can live with it), but a good chunk of the content on Flickr (and elsewhere) is NC. So it doesn’t matter what my use is, I can’t do it.

Sigh. What was effortless now becomes impossible. And I’ve burned time worrying about it.