Which leads me to the Creative Commons structure of licensing. Which as explained by the organization, “develops, supports and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing and innovation.”
But for general sharing online, I want a system where I do not have to put on my, authora-TIE! aviator glasses all the time, knocking on the doors of IP addresses and pursuing insignificant sharing matters. It’s pointless and it’s wasteful.. especially to oneself, as an artist. At least this is my opinion.
Anyway, Creative Commons allows for your choice of any one of six licensing options. With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify per the license chosen for each individual work.
The licensing structures established by CC for use, can be summed up as followed: (From CreativeCommons.org)
- Attribution — CC BY
- 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. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
- Attribution-NoDerivs — CC BY-ND
- This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
- Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike — CC BY-NC-SA
- 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.
- Attribution-ShareAlike — CC BY-SA
- This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses.
- All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
- Attribution-NonCommercial — CC BY-NC
- 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.
- Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs — CC BY-NC-ND
- This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
Or if you want to go “all-in,” you can opt for the most open forms, the Attribution Only option. This pretty much opens your work up to distribution, editing, tweaking and even sales, as long as they credit you for the original creation. Quite the open license, but for some people… that is the desire. With CC you can get just that.
After reading over all of this, I began to ask myself, “what are the pit falls here?”
One of the biggest head scratchers on CC, is the broad stroke of the non-commercial use clause. I enjoy the simplicity here, but what defines commercial use exactly. If my image is used on post to a blog with sponsors paying into the site operator and possibly even the contributor’s. Does that constitute commercial use? This is where I get confused on the terminology itself. An obvious use of my piece into an marketing plan would certainly be in violation, but it gets cloudy when your talking about a secondary blog ad sponsor that do not use my work out right, but pay those that use it in their writing on said website? Guess thats for the lawyers to decide if I go broke. 😉
Another aspect that can be either an advantage or disadvantage… commitment. What I mean is, if you choose the path of CC, then thats a commitment you must respect. Its not like you can just pop it up, let a bunch of people use your work on their blogs and then restrict it and complain (or even sue). My understanding is, the fact that you are stuck with whatever decision you make. But then again, isn’t that most any form of licensing. At least in some form or another. You can’t just reneg after the fact. In my opinion not only do your finances depend on this decision… but more importantly, your reputation is highly at stake with such commitments.
Beyond that, what legal protections do I have when I run into an infringement? At that point, I am assuming I should still have my work registered with the Library of Congress, if I plan to have any type of case. In the end, the fact of the matter is, at least to me… that CC is merely a concise grouping of intentions. A way to clarify what freedoms I allow others, related to my work.
That is further compounded by something that I read in the extended terms document, supplied on the CC website. “Please note that this chart is not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice”
Have you had experience with Creative Commons?
Let me know in the comments below.
>> Stay tuned because I may just be jumping on Trey’s CC bandwagon and opening up my work… Likely by starting small with a handful of upcoming images, as I am not sure of the back licensing of work. Plus, I must test these waters before I jump in and get swarmed by piranha. I recommend you do the same if you’ve been contemplating CC.
Also read into the deeper explanation of CC terms. Do not take all legalities on face value from the website easy blurbs.Information attained from:
- Google+ Write-up by Trey Ratcliff : https://plus.google.com/u/0/105237212888595777019
- Wired.co.UK: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-12/16/creative-commons-gallery
- Creative Commons [Main]: http://www.creativecommons.org
- Creative Commons [Terms]: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/images/2/2c/Creativecommons-licensing-for-public-sector-information_eng.pdf