What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that allows
artists, authors, publishers and musicians the option of
creating and defining a flexible copyright for their
creative works. Creative Commons was officially launched in
2001 by a group of intellectual property experts, lawyers
and web publishers. Creative Commons licenses cover art,
music, and writing, but is not designed for software.

A Creative Commons license allows creators to place
conditions on their copyrights. Traditionally, copyrights
restrict the rights of others from modifying or distributing
copywritten works. Creative Commons licenses offer
flexibility by allowing the creator (copyright holder) the
ability to choose what limitations they want in place with
respect to specific copywritten works.

How Creative Commons Works

Creators login to the Creative Commons System and select
what restrictions, attributes or modifications they wish to
assign to their creative works.

The Creative Commons site will then produce a Creative
Commons license for the creative works expressed in three
ways. Creative Commons will provide: a commons deed clearly
stating the licensing rights in plain English, legal code
for the license, and a digital license code. The digital
code can be embedded into websites and search engines. Yahoo
has a new Creative Commons search which identifies works and
recognizes any licensing conditions. Searches can be
conducted for different types of licenses. The Creative
Commons site also provides a website icon that clearly marks
the creative work as Some Rights Reserved or No Rights

A variety of license options exist for the copyright holder.
Assigning a Creative Commons license does not mean that the
copyright holder is relinquishing rights to a piece of art,
it merely means some conditions could be placed on the use
of creative works.

Examples of Creative Common License Options

A Creative Commons license enables copyright holders to
grant some of their rights to the public while retaining
other rights.

NonCommercial – A non-commercial license lets others copy,
distribute, perform creative works and derivative works, but
only for noncommercial purposes (anyone using the creative
works cannot profit from it).

ShareAlike – A ShareAlike license allows others to
distribute derivative works under a license identical to the
one held by the original copyright holder.

NoDerivative Works – A NoDerivative Works clause allows
others to copy, distribute, display and perform the exact
copywritten works and no derivative works can be created.

Attribution – An Attribution license means creative works
can be copied, distributed, displayed, or performed and
derivative works can be created, provided that appropriate
credit to the original copyright holder is given.

Many artists feel that a Creative Commons license increases
their exposure but still allows them to retain their rights
to the creative works, striking a balance between ownership,
credit and use. Ultimately, a Creative Commons license
enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to
the public while retaining others; with Creative Commons the
copyright holder retains the flexibility to control the
rights to their creative works.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.