A citizen's legal guide to using Creative Commons licenses

Guide to using Creative Commons licenses

The Creative Commons license offers an excellent alternative to rigid, restrictive, one-size-fits-all copyright law. For many creators, default, "all rights reserved" copyright law may not be the best choice.

For example, if you create write and article or record a song and you don't choose an alternative such as a Creative Commons or dedication to the public domain, you are stuck with default "protection." Even if you want people to freely reuse your work, they may be afraid to or even if they do choose to reuse your work they might be limited by what they can do with it.

Overall, keeping the "default" copyright rules in place when you want to encourage sharing and reuse may actually hurt your ability to communicate your work to the rest of the world.

Creative Commons essentially acknowledges that there are many alternatives on the spectrum between default copyright law, "all rights reserved," and dedicating your work to the public domain, where "no rights are reserved."

from CreativeCommons.org under attribution license

Creative Commons licenses are essentially a set of legal notices that permit others to make certain uses of a creative work. For instance, you share your work under the legal notice that allows others to repost and distribute your information so long as they attribute the work to you, link to your website, and don't exploit your work for profit. This is just one example of something Creative Commons licenses allow you to do.

First we'll look at the various uses that you can permit of your creative work, and the various conditions you can place on those uses. Then we'll look at the licenses themselves, which are simply various combinations of these permissions and conditions.

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