The Explanation for Creative Commons
The issue of copyright has been brought front and center for a number of people by the popularity of the Internet – particularly websites such as YouTube, Flickr, and other sharing websites. Several people have the feeling that conventional copyright laws don’t get on well with the present media channels, or should at least be adapted accordingly.
Creative Commons, founded in 2001, is a non-profit organization located in San Francisco striving to make it easier for people to share and promote their own work and the work of others. They have developed a set of free copyright licenses to show how a work can be altered or distributed, if at all.
There are four licenses offered by Creative Commons –
Attribution: which allows others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and any derivative works, but only if properly attributed,
Non-Commercial: which allows others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and any derivative works, but only for non-commercial purposes,
No Derivative Works: which allows others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the original work, but not any works derived from it,
and Share Alike: which allows others distribute derivative works as long as the licenses associated with the original work stay intact.
While these four licenses technically provide 16 different potential combinations, only six combinations are used with any regularity –
Attribution: which allows people to share and make money off your work as long as you are properly attributed,
Attribution Share Alike: which adds to Attribution that all new works must keep the original licenses,
Attribution No Derivates: which adds to Attribution that the work must remain unchanged,
Attribution Non-Commercial: which allows people to share – but not make money off of – your work as long as you are properly attributed,
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike: which adds to Attribution Non-Commercial that all new works will keep the original licenses,
and Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives: which adds to Attribution Non-Commercial that the work must remain unchanged.
There are various applications for this in music, software, art, and more. A creator just needs to decide if they want credit, if they want people to be able to make money off their original work, if they want people to be able to change the work, and if someone does change it, whether or not that person can change the licensing.
Anyone interested in apply for a free license can search online to apply and find out more about the organization.
Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with Professional Marketing International helping people change their lives.