What Exactly Is Creative Commons?

What Exactly Is Creative Commons? We all have seen it several times and we all have a hum about it. But let us have a closer exam of the different aspects of it.

Creative Commons (CC) is a worldwide organisation that offers copyright alternatives (beyond the traditional ‘all rights reserved’)

Copyrightable works include books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, etc.  A producer of a work decides what´s he wants others to be able to do with their work.


What Exactly Is Creative Commons?

There are a variety of reasons for allowing others to reuse, distribute and modify your creative work:

What Exactly Is Creative Commons?

  1. To maximise your exposure and increase distribution
  2. To rely on innovative business models to secure a return on your creative investment
  3. To contribute to and participate in the public sphere

There are four attributes that the producer can specify:

1.  Attribution: the producer decides if s he wants to be recognised as the creator of the work. If they do, then anyone using or redistributing the work must give the original creator credit, and provide a link to their original licence.

2. Commercial use: the producer of the work decides whether people are allowed to make money from its use. If they decide that they are, then anyone can do so, without having to get permission.

If they decide that they are not allowed to do so, then users know exactly where they stand. Of course if they really want to use the work, there is nothing to stop them approaching the creator and seeking permission (probably for a fee).

3. Derivative works: the producer decides if they will allow others to alter or transform the work. If they do allow this, users can take the work and change it (e.g. resize a photograph, or write a play using the plotline from the work). If this is not allowed, then the user must seek permission before doing this.

4. Share alike: the producer of the work decides to make it a condition of use that any new work that contains it must be made available under the same conditions on which it was offered. For example if I produce a photograph and someone uses it in a book, then that book must be released to the world under the same conditions as my photograph, which may have stipulated no commercial use, or no derivative works.

These four attributes can be combined in a total of eleven ways, providing a wide range of flexibility. A twelfth option is to make the work available with no restrictions at all (no rights reserved) – in this case it becomes ‘public domain’.


Written by Jonny

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