Moving to Freedom, .Org

The Phone Book is Here!

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!

Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.

Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I’m somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I’m in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

The Jerk (of course!)

That’s what I felt like after receiving a copy of the 2008/2009 Rapid City/Gillete phone book in the mail recently. Look!

2008/2009 Rapid City/Gillette Phone Book Cover (Yellowbook)

See, there in the upper right corner:

2008/2009 Rapid City/Gillette Phone Book Cover (Yellowbook) 2

That’s a picture I took of Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota a few years ago.

The text reads:

Sylvan Sunset, by Scott Carpenter
Creative Commons Attribution License, v3.0

Isn’t that an exciting something? Although I don’t think it will necessarily lead to big things happening to me now, and I certainly wouldn’t want the same kind of results that Steve Martin’s character achieved from his listing.

How did this happen?

Last September I received an email from someone at Yellowbook, saying that they were interested in using my picture for the cover of the Rapid City phone book. (Then and still, searching Google Images [Black Hills] will find this photo very near the top.) I imagined that she was referring to the main cover picture, but this is still cool.

Creative Commons Logo

I said that they were already free and welcome to use it under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license with which it was published, but that I’d be willing to relicense it as Attribution only, which I did, and also signed a form giving them permission to use it. I often wondered if I should have held out for money also, but seeing the small role of the picture, it’s just as well I didn’t. Something tells me they wouldn’t have paid much for that, if anything, and I’m simply pleased to get some exposure and have an artifact of free culture—the CC license—appear right there on the cover of an old media phone book.

I requested exactly the block of text above as the form the attribution should take, but I imagined it might appear inside on one of the front pages. I’m surprised they’d fit it in like that on the cover for such a small thumbnail. And not that I think there is a ton of artistic consideration for the cover of a phone book, but I’d have expected a graphic designer to balk at this kind of verbiage, again with the picture being such a minor part of the page. But they did include the attribution prominently, and I wonder how many people might look at that and say, “What the hell is this Creative Commons license?” (Millions, surely!) I hope a few of them will visit and learn something about it, and maybe even think that it is a good thing to share our culture this way.

That is: if anyone actually uses the paper phone book anymore. I don’t. The many phone books delivered to our door go straight into the recycling bin. Except for this one, of course. The phone book is here!