Friday, December 28, 2007

Options beyond All Rights Reserved Copyright

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to someone speak to a group of educators about copyright. The discussion was a typical one, focusing on the definition of copyrighted works, the dos, and mostly the don'ts, of using products, publications, and information that were produced by others.

Often when you hear about copyright, you hear the extremes--control the content and products by using copyright or freely give it away without constraints.

Creative Commons licenses give options that fall between two extremes. Creative Commons licenses open a plethora of opportunities to use works and derive new products from existing products.Therefore, educators should not only learn about copyright law, but should also understand that there are other options.

Using other products and content under Creative Commons
When you find products and content under Creative Commons licenses, you have options the content based on the license that the creators of the content have chosen. Creative Commons licensed works enable you to take advantage of many resources to improve your programs and use your creativity to improve these products.

Using Creative Commons for your products and content
When you use Creative Commons license, you, as a provider of content, information and educational products, decide how you want your products to be distributed and copied. From the Creative Commons website:

Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work — a “some rights reserved” copyright.
By "inviting certain uses of your work", you are encouraging your work to be disseminated and improved upon.

The choices within Creative Commons licenses are:
  • Attribution. 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.
  • Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  • Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
Larry Lessig explains how creativity is encouraged by removing controls. The presentation is 19 minutes long.

By the way, the Creative Commons for my blog and most of the work I post on the web have the following Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License

which is Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Creative Commons license for my work tells me:

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.

How would you like to share your work?

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