A new way to be friendly with your intellectual property.
What is the konomark?
The konomark is a symbol – a circle with a pineapple in it – that lets visitors to your website know that you are generally willing to share your copyrighted content, such as photos, educational materials, music, etc., with folks like yourself, for free. The konomark is an invitation to e-mail you and ask you for permission.
Let’s say I see a konomarked photo that I want to use. What should I do?
Just e-mail the photographer, explain how you want to use it, and wait for a response. You won’t be bothering anyone – the photographer has invited you to ask. It’s all good.
Where can I find konomarked content?
The project is still in its infancy, but there are more than 10,000 konomarked photos on Flickr. If you search Flickr for the tag konomark, you'll find them there.
Who is allowed to use the konomark?
You are, as long as you comply with the following three rules:
• You use the konomark only to mark your own copyrighted works.
• By konomarking a copyrighted work, you intend to invite people to ask you for permission to use that work.
• You are generally amenable to letting people use, without compensating you, the copyrighted content you’ve konomarked – even though the konomark does not legally obligate you.
Technically, legally speaking, these three rules are the conditions upon which you are granted a revocable license to use the konomark logo and word mark. Just be aware that the rules are subject to change – after all, the konomark project is new, and still in an experimental stage.
So where is the logo I can use?
Here it is:
Most rights sharable. Just e-mail me and ask. Learn more at konomark.org
Right click to save it, then load it into your webpage. Please hyperlink the logo to the konomark.org main page. Alternatively, you can insert the code, below, into your webpage, which links to the copy of the image on this server. If you use the code, then your webpage will display the updated image if it is changed later.
<a href="http://konomark.org"><img src="http://konomark.org/konomarks/konomark_full_tag_en.png" alt="Most rights sharable. Just e-mail me and ask. Learn more at konomark.org" border="0"></a>
Here are higher-resolution graphics, useful for print and video:
What is the konomark philosophy?
The konomark philosophy is that it’s often a good idea to share copyrighted content for free, even though there are many circumstances under which even extremely generous people understandably deny permission. For example, if someone wants to use your snapshot from your trip to London to illustrate a blog post, you’re probably fine with that. But if some high-end fashion magazine wanted to use your photo, you’d probably want them to pay you for it.
What is good about konomarking my content?
By konomarking and sharing content, other people will be able to benefit from your creative endeavors. And in the process of your inviting and receiving requests for permission, you may establish new connections and friendships with colleagues and people who share your interests.
Who will benefit from konomark?
Bloggers who need illustrations, teachers who are looking for slide shows or handouts, small business owners who need music for a radio commercial, a student group wanting images for a poster to promote an event – you name it. The great thing about digital creations is that, unlike tangible objects, we can give them to others without losing them ourselves.
If I konomark my content, do I have to share it with everyone who wants to use it?
No. In fact, you do not even have to share with anyone. You do not waive any rights to your work by konomarking it. But you do signal people that you have a general willingness to share, given the right circumstances.
If I konomark my content, can I change my mind?
Yes. Just remove the konomark.
What am I not allowed to do with the konomark?
No permission is given for you to use the konomark for any other purpose, including, without limitation, use as a decoration, use as a trademark for your goods or services, or use on clothing, merchandise, etc. Also, your permission to use the konomark at all is revocable at anytime for any reason or no reason.
Of course, regardless of permissions, you have specific rights under law to make fair uses of the konomark graphic, including certain uses for commentary and news reporting.
Do I have to notify anyone before using the konomark?
No, but since the project is in beta, it would be greatly appreciated if you would send an e-mail. Hearing that the konomark has been useful would be very satisfying. And if you were able to get permission to use something through konomark, please e-mail about that, too!
Why the name “konomark”?
The Hawaiian word “kono” means to invite, prompt, or ask in. The “mark” part is pretty self-explanatory – the idea is to mark content that's shareable.
Why the pineapple symbol?
The pineapple has long been a symbol of hospitality. To that end, it has been a tradtional gift for guests and an artistic motif in woodworking and architecture. The circle around the pineapple helps put the symbol within the genre of intellectual-property-claiming symbols (such as © and ®), as well as sharing-license symbols, such as those for copyleft and Creative Commons.
Is this like Creative Commons or open-source software licenses, such as GPL, LGPL, or GFDL?
Yes and no. Like konomark, Creative Commons licenses and open-source software licenses are all about sharing intellectual property and enabling folks to benefit from each other’s creative and intellectual endeavors.
But konomark is actually quite different. Most importantly, it is not a license. It’s just a signal.
Also, konomark involves no irrevocable commitment. By contrast, once you release your photo, computer program, novel, or other copyrighted work under a Creative Commons license or a free-software license, your decision cannot be taken back.
There are many great reasons to release for people to release their work under one of those licenses – and the Konomark Project does not want to discourage anyone from using those licenses. But they aren’t right for everything and everyone. That’s where konomark comes in. You tell the world you like to share, but you don’t dedicate your work in perpetuity.
Can I konomark content that I've already released under a Creative Commons or open-source software license?
Absolutely. For instance, if you have released your work under a Creative Commons NonCommercial license, then konomarking the content will signal your general willingness to share beyond the terms of the CC license. For instance, you may be happy to let individuals and small businesses use the content in ways that are connected to earning income.
Who is behind the Konomark Project?
Konomark is a project of Eric E. Johnson, a law professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law, and an affiliate scholar with the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. He teaches and writes about intellectual property law.
Who owns konomark?
Professor Johnson does. If the konomark scheme takes off and ends up being useful to a significant number of people, then transferring the copyright and trademark interests into a non-profit corporation would probably be the sensible next step.
Should I consult an attorney?
You should certainly consider doing so. Any time you are dealing with legal rights and responsibilities, the way to make informed decisions is to consult an attorney, who can explain how laws and licenses apply to your situation. And even though konomarking your content does not create a legal obligation to share it with anyone, if you do actually proceed to share it with someone, you will likely be creating a license or contract that has legal effect. Professor Johnson is not and cannot be your attorney, and nothing on this website constitutes legal advice. Providing legal services is not part of the Konomark Project.
Can I get some konomark merchandise?
Soon. Maybe even for free.
Over 10,000 konomarked photos on flickr.com

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