Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What they don't teach you in English 101...

Whenever I'm looking for stuff to post on this blog or any other website, it's always a pain to find images or reference materials that aren't under the standard set of copyright protections. Now, while copyright is fairly important to our current system of intellectual property (though this is certainly not an ideal system), the "all rights reserved" clause can make sharing stuff on the web rather difficult. If I want to post something protected by copyright up on this blog, I first have to located the author (who may be off sunning himself on the beaches of Mongolia for all I know). If only there were an easier way for people pre-approve the use of their works in certain ways.

Well, a group of people worried about regular copyright's implications on the fast-paced world of internet media founded something called Creative Commons in 2001. Creative Commons provides a free licensing program (along with a number of support services) that can indicate to the viewers of a work: if that work can be used by others, what it cannot be used for, and if there are specific restrictions that apply to the use of the work. While many artist and media producers would like to individually OK every use of their work, many more, like myself, prefer an easy way to let people share their work without fearing a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Like I said, I don't mind it when people use stuff from my blog as long as they note where it came from. You can see to the left of this post, I've put up a Creative Commons license marker indicating that as long as the work is non-commercial, attributed, and shares the same kind of license in the future destination, everything is cool. When a viewer clicks on the maker, it takes them straight to a site that lays all that out in plain English. Here's a video, just in case you're a visual learner...

Pretty cool, huh?

If you'd like to learn more about how to apply Creative Commons to your creative works, just go to their site and take some time to read over the materials that they have provided. When you feel comfortable you understand the implications of leaving behind some of your "reserved rights," run through their set-up system and you'll be all ready to go!

The video ("Wanna Work Together?") was created by Creative Commons and is licensed under a CC Attribution 2.5 Generic License.
The image ("Creative Commons Logo") was created by Flickr user "SV Contact" and is licensed under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License.

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The content of this page is completely the creation and opinion of James Rogers. He is affiliated with Connect Mason and formerly Broadside Online but the relationship only governs republication, not content.

Further, in the interest of full disclosure, this author holds minor financial investments in Apple, Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices.