Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Creative Commons Licensing

Perhaps you are a scholar looking for images to use in teaching, on a web site, or in a publication. You may be an artist wishing to create derivative works based on appropriation. Or, you might create work that you wish to share with others without giving up all of your intellectual property rights. The Creative Commons (CC) licensing system provides an alternative to full copyright; it meets the needs of creators who wish to share their work while retaining the rights of their choosing. Creative Commons, a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable corporation, provides free licenses that address "the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved." The Creative Commons web site offers a simple online tool for creators to define their rights. The conditions they can apply include attribution, noncommercial, no derivative works, and share alike (which allows others to distribute the work only under a license identical to that which governs the work). Those seeking content with Creative Commons licenses may search the CC web site. Flickr also provides a search tool to find CC images available on its web site. The "some rights reserved" movement is an important development in the world of intellectual property. It provides more content to more people, helps build collective knowledge, and preserves the rights of creators who are willing to share their work.

Image: Sheryl Dee, Hirosaki Castle, 2008. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

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