Technology Management

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Legal, Ethical and Social Considerations of Creative Commons and the Public Domain

[Table of contents]

Creative Commons

As a creator of an artistic piece (music, video, writing, etc) putting items in the public domain is good, but it requires that a person give up all ownership rights.  I might not want to give up all my rights. Therefore, a new trend is taking place and that trend is selective or limited release. The system used for these purposes is Creative Commons.

Creative Commons (CC) frees materials from automatically applied copyright restrictions by providing free, easy-to-use, flexible licenses for creators to place on their digital materials that permit the originator to grant rights as they see fit (Fitzergerald, 2007; Smith & Casserly, 2006). As the Creative Commons Website located at http://creativecommons.org/ notes, “Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from ‘All Rights Reserved’ to ‘Some Rights Reserved’” (Creative Commons, 2012). This holds promise for OER movements because it helps control the costs and legal issues revolving around offering materials freely online (Caswell et al., 2008). Currently, over 30 nations now have creative commons licenses although it has only been in place for four years (Smith & Casserly).

A great summary video can be found at http://creativecommons.org/about/ that explains CC well.  Other videos, equally good in explain CC, can be found at http://creativecommons.org/videos/

Now let’s consider license variations.  First, let’s remind ourselves what attribution is.  It is the ascribing of a work (as of literature or art) to a particular author or artist (Merriam-Webster).  With that said, let’s review the licenses available via Creative Commons at http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/

Creators choose a set of conditions they wish to apply to their work.


AttributionAttribution

Share AlikeShare Alike

NoncommercialNoncommercial

No Derivative WorksNo Derivative Works

You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.

You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.

You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

The CC License Options:

image Attribution

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.

imageAttribution Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

imageAttribution No Derivatives
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

imageAttribution Non-Commercial
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

imageAttribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.

imageAttribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

To learn about licensing your own work visit http://creativecommons.org/choose/