Creative Commons

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The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others legally to build upon and share. The organization has released several copyright licenses known as Creative Commons Licenses.

Contents

[edit] Aim

The Creative Commons enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others through a variety of licensing and contract schemes including dedication to the public domain or open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems current copyright laws create for the sharing of information.

The project provides several free licenses that copyright owners can use when releasing their works on the Web. They also provide RDF/XML metadata that describes the license and the work, making it easier to automatically process and locate licensed works. Creative Commons also provide a "Founders' Copyright" <ref>Template:Cite web</ref> contract, intended to re-create the effects of the original U.S. Copyright created by the founders of the U.S. Constitution.

All these efforts, and more, are done to counter the effects of what Creative Commons considers to be a dominant and increasingly restrictive permission culture. In the words of Lawrence Lessig, Chairman of the Board, it is "a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past".<ref>Lessig, Lawrence (2004). Free Culture. New York: Penguin Press, 8.</ref> Lessig maintains that modern culture is dominated by traditional content distributors in order to maintain and strengthen their monopolies on cultural products such as popular music and popular cinema, and that Creative Commons can provide alternatives to these restrictions.<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] History

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Golden Nica Award for Creative Commons

The Creative Commons licenses were pre-dated by the Open Publication License and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). The GFDL was intended mainly as a license for software documentation, but is also in active use by non-software projects such as Wikipedia. The Open Publication License is now largely defunct, and its creator suggests that new projects not use it. Both licenses contained optional parts that, in the opinions of critics, made them less "free". The GFDL differs from the CC licenses in its requirement that the licensed work be distributed in a form which is "transparent", i.e., not in a proprietary and/or confidential format.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Creative Commons was officially launched in 2001. Lawrence Lessig, the founder and chairman, started the organization as an additional method of achieving the goals of his Supreme Court case, Eldred v. Ashcroft. The initial set of Creative Commons licenses was published on December 16, 2002 <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. The project itself was honored in 2004 with the Golden Nica Award at the Prix Ars Electronica, for the category "Net Vision".

The Creative Commons was first tested in court in early 2006, when podcaster Adam Curry sued a Dutch tabloid who published photos without permission from his Flickr page. The photos were licensed under the Creative Commons NonCommercial license. While the verdict was in favour of Curry, the tabloid avoided having to pay restitution to him as long as they did not repeat the offense. An analysis of the decision states, "The Dutch Court’s decision is especially noteworthy because it confirms that the conditions of a Creative Commons license automatically apply to the content licensed under it, and bind users of such content even without expressly agreeing to, or having knowledge of, the conditions of the license." <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Localization

The non-localized Creative Commons licenses were written with the U.S. legal system in mind, so the wording may not match perfectly with existing law in other countries. Although somewhat unlikely, using the U.S. model without regard to local law could render the licenses unenforceable. To address this issue, the iCommons (International Commons) project intends to fine-tune the Creative Commons legal wording to the specifics of individual countries. As of June 2006, representatives from 49 other countries and regions have joined this initiative, and licenses for 31 of those countries have already been completed.

[edit] Projects using Creative Commons licenses

Several million pages of web content use Creative Commons licenses. Common Content was set up by Jeff Kramer with cooperation from Creative Commons, and is currently maintained by volunteers.

[edit] Sampling of CC adoption scope

This list provides a short sampling of CC-licensed projects which convey the breadth and scope of Creative Commons adoption among prominent institutions and publication modes. <p/> Portals, aggregation, and archives

Flickr, Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, Ourmedia

Formal publications

Public Library of Science, Proceedings of Science

Instructional materials

MIT OpenCourseWare, Clinical Skills Online, MIMA Music

Collaborative content

Wikinews, Wikitravel, Memory Alpha, Uncyclopedia, Jurispedia, and many other wikis

Blogs, Videoblogs, and Podcasts

Groklaw, This Week in Tech, : Rocketboom, Jet Set Show, newspaperindex

Journalism

20 minutes

Progressive culture

Jamendo, BeatPick, Revver, GarageBand.com, blip.tv

Counterculture

Star Wreck

Movies

Elephants Dream

[edit] Notable works

[edit] Open source record labels

[edit] Tools for discovering CC-licensed content

[edit] Criticism

During its first year as an organization, Creative Commons experienced a "honeymoon" period with very little criticism. Recently though, critical attention has focused on the Creative Commons movement and how well it is living up to its perceived values and goals. The critical positions taken can be roughly divided up into complaints of a lack of:

  • An ethical position - Those in these camps criticize the Creative Commons for failing to set a minimum standard for its licenses, or for not having an ethical position to base its licenses. These camps argue that Creative Commons should define, and should have defined, a set of core freedoms or rights which all CC licenses must grant. These terms might, or might not, be the same core freedoms as the heart of the free software movement. (e.g. See Hill 2005 and the writings of Richard Stallman[1]).
  • A political position - Where the object is to critically analyse the foundations of the Creative Commons movement and offer an eminent critique (e.g. Berry & Moss 2005, Geert Lovink, Free Culture movements).
  • A common sense position - These usually fall into the category of "it is not needed" or "it takes away user rights" (see Toth 2005 or Dvorak 2005).
  • A pro-copyright position - These are usually marshalled by the content industry and argue either that Creative Commons is not useful, or that it undermines copyright (Nimmer 2005).

[edit] Dvorak criticism

Dvorak's criticism was presented in an article titled Creative Commons Humbug which he wrote for PC Magazine in July 2005. His second sentence reads:

Dubbed Creative Commons, this system is some sort of secondary copyright license that, as far as I can tell, does absolutely nothing but threaten the already tenuous "fair use" provisos of existing copyright law.

An article at Creative Commons delineating the Baseline rights common to all licenses, including the non-commercial variants, directly states:

Every license will ... announce that other people's fair use, first sale, and free expression rights are not affected by the license.

Of the concerns Dvorak raises, his concerns over the slippery nature of non-commercial in the non-commercial variants of the license are the most valid, although he seems not to realize that many Creative Commons license variants lack this restriction. A sober consideration of the difficulties posed in defining non-commercial with respect to Swedish law was written up by Mikael Pawlo.

Dvorak also fails to recognize that the Creative Commons licenses exist in part to create clarity in the provisions of law that apply to a creative work through the application of accurate copyright metadata, whether or not the metadata changes rights that would have existed by default in the absence of the license metadata applied.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

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