4.3 Creative Commons (CC) licences
Copyright laws are all about protecting the (mostly) economic rights of the individual creator and preventing unauthorised use. They provide a legal framework for copyright owners to pursue those who copy or use their material without credit, which is known as plagiarism.
Copyright laws have been in existence for many years and can be slow to change. Digital technology, such as the internet, provides the means for rightsholders to share their works more easily. However, many rightsholders wanted to share their works (and at the same time benefit from others sharing) but were concerned about protection of their works and needed assurance that they were only going to be used in ways that they agreed with.
Creative Commons (CC) was founded in 2001 and provides a set of licences which are guaranteed by the rightsholder to be non-revokable providing the user abides by the licence terms.
Rights owners can make their works freely-available under an appropriate CC licence and any rights not granted still rest with the copyright holder (rights owners). In this way their copyright is protected as well as being shared. A rightsholder may withdraw their work from a CC licence at any time. However, those works already accessed and being used still enjoy the non-revokable licence.
The video below was made by Common Craft and illustrates the benefits of the licences.
Transcript: Video 4: Benefits of licences
When you share your creativity, you’re enabling people anywhere to use it, learn from it, and be inspired by it. Take the teacher who shapes young minds with work and wisdom from around the globe; and the artist who builds beauty out of bits and pieces she finds online; and the writer, whose stories use ideas and images crafted by people you’ve never even met – these people know that when you share your creative wealth, you can accomplish great things. They and millions of other people all around the planet are working together to build a richer, better, more vibrant culture using Creative Commons.
To understand Creative Commons, you need to know a little bit about how copyright works. Did you know that when you create something – anything – from a photograph, to a song, to a drawing, to a film, to a story, you automatically own an all rights reserved copyright to that creativity. That’s true. Copyright protects your creativity against uses you don’t consent to.
But sometimes full copyright is too restrictive. What about when you want all those millions and millions of people out there to use your work without the hassle of coming to you for permission? What if you want your work to be freely shared, re-used, and built upon by the rest of the world? Luckily, there’s an answer – Creative Commons.
We provide free copyright licences you can use to tell people exactly which parts of your copyright you’re happy to give to the public. It’s easy. It only takes a minute and it’s totally free.
Just come to our website and answer a few quick questions like, will you allow commercial uses of your work? And will you allow your work to be modified? Based on your answers, we’ll give you a licence that clearly communicates what people can and can’t do with your creativity. You don’t give up your copyright, you refine it so it works better for you.
Welcome to a new world where collaboration rules. It didn’t even exist just a few years ago, but now there are millions and millions of songs, pictures, videos, and written works available to share, re-use, and remix all for free. Want to work together? Then join the commons – Creative Commons.