Creative Commons and Sharing in the Digital Age
Ms. Paula Filart
Good day! I’m Paula Filart and I’m here to talk to you about Creative Commons and sharing in the digital age.
As we know, the web is full of accessible content on almost anything. But with the ease of just copying, using or downloading everything off the internet, we run the risk of violating the creator’s rights. We must remember that not everything on the web is free for our use.
I’ll start off discussing a little bit about copyright.
Copyright is the protection accorded to original artistic and literary works, and are protected from the moment of their creation. Even youtube videos, pictures posted on Facebook, poems published on blogs—these are all protected by copyright. What is important to remember is that consent is always required to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic or musical material subject to copyright protection. As a general rule, we should assume that all works on the internet is protected by copyright and covered under its conventional copyright terms, or what we call the “all rights are reserved” regime.
However, entering into contracts to get consent to use, say, a photo uploaded on the internet might be costly and time consuming. This is where Creative Commons comes in.
Creative commons is a licensing regime to share creative works by offering several copyright licenses to the public, free of charge. It is based on the principle of copyright and it gives the creator the means to share their work to the public with the conditions of their choice or what we call the “some rights reserved” regime. It promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works and doing away with the individual negotiations between the licensor and the licensee.
Now, here are some platforms which host works protected by Creative Commons Licenses or what we call CC Licenses.
We have Flickr, a photo-sharing platform for photographers and photography enthusiasts. Youtube and Vimeo, a video-sharing platform. Bandcamp and Jamendo – music-licensing platform and all of these other licensing platforms.
Now, how do you know if a work is covered under a Creative Commons License?
If you see any of these symbols, then you’ll know that they licensed under the Creative Commons regime and that the creator has granted you some rights to his work, subject, of course, to certain restrictions.
So let’s discuss these licenses further.
Perhaps you’ve clicked on a picture on Wikipedia. If you notice you’ll see these combination of letters below the picture. For example, this picture has a CC BY 2.0 license. This is a creative commons license. Another example is this picture on Flickr. Instead of the combination of letters, you see these combination of symbols. This work is also licensed under the Creative Commons regime.
The first license we’ll discuss is the Attribution License, usually represented by the letters BY or this symbol. This license allows you to copy, distribute, display, perform the work, make derivative works and remixes based on the original work but you must give the licensor the credits in the manner specified by the license. For example, if you see a picture on Flickr with the attribution symbol and you want to use it for you research paper, the symbol means that the owner has legally allowed you to use the picture without asking for his permission. The only restriction is that you give the creator proper attribution.
So, how do we attribute?
First, you name the author or creator, and, where applicable, provide a link to his profile. Second, provide the title of the work, if there is any, and the link to where the original work is hosted. Third, put in the CC License type, and a link to the license.
The second license we’ll talk about is the Share Alike license, represented by the letters SA or this symbol. This allows anyone to copy, distribute, perform and modify as long as any of the modified work is distributed on the same terms or on terms “not more restricted” than the original work. For example, if you take a video from Youtube with an SA license and you want to include it in your own video which you will upload on the internet, your new creation must carry the same terms and conditions as the video that you used
The third license is the Non-Commercial represented by the letters NC or this symbol. This allows anyone to copy, display, distribute, perform and modify the work for any purpose other than commercial. Say you saw a nice picture online and you want to print them on mugs to give as Christmas gifts. If it has a NC license then you can do that, however once you sell those mugs for a profit then that is violating the CC license of the creator of the picture.
The last is the No Derivatives represented by the letters ND or this symbol. This allows you to copy, distribute, display, or perform original copies of the licensed content. However, no modification, remixes or other forms of derivatives is allowed without the creator’s consent. So, If you took a picture online with an ND license, and you want to use that picture in your blog, you cannot modify or edit the picture as you please. You must use the picture as is.
Now, there is a special license… We call it the CC0 license, where there are no restrictions imposed and it waives as many rights as possible. It is a way to release material to the world and into the public domain.
Now, here are the most common combinations of the licenses used.
Among these, the BY license, and the BY-SA license gives the most freedom to the user. The BY-SA license is akin to the “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. So, a work derived from an original work with a BY-SA license must allow commercial use as well.
The BY-ND license allows redistribution, commercial or non-commercial, as long as the work is passed unchanged and in whole, duly crediting the creator thereof.
The BY-NC lets you remix, modify, or build upon the work, however, the original or derivative work must not likewise be distributed commercially.
Now, these last two licenses are the most restrictive licenses.
The BY-NC-SA license lets you remix, modify and build upon the original work, but you cannot distribute the work or the derivative you create in a commercial manner. In addition, the redistribution must be under identical terms as the original work used.
The BY-NC-ND license only allows you to download the original work, and share it with others as long as you credit the original work. You cannot change it in any way or use it commercially.
Now, to summarize everything, we must remember, as a general rule: always assume that everything you find in the web is subject to copyright and that all rights are reserved by the creator. Creative Commons lets you to license your work under the terms that you want, allowing the public to use your work subject to some rights that you’ve reserved. So remember, check the works you find online for the appropriate rights granted by the creator, if any, or if CC Licenses are granted to avoid infringing the owner’s copyright.
Thank you for listening.