What is Creative Commons
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that
allows artists, authors, publishers and musicians the option of
creating and defining a flexible copyright for their creative works.
Creative Commons was officially launched in 2001 by a group of intellectual
property experts, lawyers and web publishers. Creative Commons licenses
cover art, music, and writing, but is not designed for software.
A Creative Commons license allows creators to place
conditions on their copyrights. Traditionally, copyrights restrict
the rights of others from modifying or distributing copywritten
works. Creative Commons licenses offer flexibility by allowing the
creator (copyright holder) the ability to choose what limitations
they want in place with respect to specific copywritten works.
How Creative Commons Works
Creators login to the Creative Commons System and select what
restrictions, attributes or modifications they wish to assign to
their creative works.
The Creative Commons site will then produce a Creative
Commons license for the creative works expressed in three ways.
Creative Commons will provide: a commons deed clearly stating the
licensing rights in plain English, legal code for the license, and
a digital license code. The digital code can be embedded into websites
and search engines. Yahoo has a new Creative Commons search which
identifies works and recognizes any licensing conditions. Searches
can be conducted for different types of licenses. The Creative Commons
site also provides a website icon that clearly marks the creative
work as Some Rights Reserved or No Rights Reserved.
A variety of license options exist for the copyright
holder. Assigning a Creative Commons license does not mean that
the copyright holder is relinquishing rights to a piece of art,
it merely means some conditions could be placed on the use of creative
Examples of Creative Common License Options
A Creative Commons license enables copyright holders to grant
some of their rights to the public while retaining other rights.
NonCommercial - A non-commercial license
lets others copy, distribute, perform creative works and derivative
works, but only for noncommercial purposes (anyone using the creative
works cannot profit from it).
ShareAlike - A ShareAlike license allows
others to distribute derivative works under a license identical
to the one held by the original copyright holder.
NoDerivative Works - A NoDerivative
Works clause allows others to copy, distribute, display and perform
the exact copywritten works and no derivative works can be created.
Attribution - An Attribution license
means creative works can be copied, distributed, displayed, or performed
and derivative works can be created, provided that appropriate credit
to the original copyright holder is given.
Many artists feel that a Creative Commons license
increases their exposure but still allows them to retain their rights
to the creative works, striking a balance between ownership, credit
and use. Ultimately, a Creative Commons license enables copyright
holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining
others; with Creative Commons the copyright holder retains the flexibility
to control the rights to their creative works.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts.
In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.