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What is Creative Commons, and how is it being used online?

 

Creative Commons can refer to a set of licenses which allow for the open exchange of creative works and educational materials, as well as the non-profit organization which established and advocates for those licenses.
 
Creative Commons licenses provide an alternative to traditional copyright law and restrictions, allowing creators to share their works with a unique mix of openness and control. Creators can allow for their works to be republished with or without Attribution, can decide whether materials can be altered (Derivative) or remain as initially created (Non-Derivative), and whether the work can be used for Commercial or Non-Commercial purposes. Because Creative Commons is in use in over 50 jurisdictions globally, content creators can also control how their works are shared internationally.
 
With the proliferation of tools and services for sharing and exchanging digital content (and digital renditions of physical content) on the web, Creative Commons is Many sites created for the sharing of materials online now have options for Creative Commons licensing built in, including: Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, and Wikipedia.
 
Speaking at the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences WebWise 2010 conference, Larry Johnson of the New Media Consortium said, "The wonderful thing about Creative Commons is that it’s a grassroots thing. We don’t have to wait for Congress to agree on what copyright laws should be and there are tremendous collections out there of stuff that can be shared: music, film, video, images....So I think it’s not so much a questions about rules and regulations and policies as it is to help people understand how they can do these things in ways that don’t infringe on copyright. I think there [are] tremendous opportunities for libraries to point people to those kinds of collections....We live in an era where all of that is changing. The music industry has gone through tremendous change in the last decade. It’s in movies now. It’s coming to publishing. Our notions of copyright law will probably take 20 years to catch up but the world has already moved on."
 
Article resources and locations for further reading:
  • Creative Commons - The Creative Commons website, providing complete explanations for Creative Commons licenses, a robust FAQ, and other materials related to the license.
  • Larry Johnson's Keynote Address at the IMLS WebWise 2010 conference.