What is Creative Commons?
Creative commons is a copyright scheme invented by Lawrence
Lessig, a law professor at Stanford Law School. It creates a middle ground
between the public domain and copyright. Where the public domain leaves “no
rights reserved” and traditional copyrights keep “all rights reserved”, creative
commons keeps “some rights reserved.” This means that a creative commons license
can be used to share your work freely with the world while still preserving some
of your rights to it. A license is customizable to suit the needs of the creator
wishing to share the work.
How does Creative Commons work?
There are 4 components that can make up a creative commons
license. A work can be licensed under up to 3 of the following conditions. The
No Derivative Works and Share-Alike conditions are mutually exclusive; they
cannot both be used in the same license.
Attribution - The work can be used, reproduced,
redistributed and changed as long as the original creator is given credit for the work.
Non-Commercial - The work can be used, reproduced,
redistributed and changed as long as it is not used for any
No Derivative Works - The work can be used, reproduced, redistributed as long as it is kept whole and intact. It can be used only
if it is not changed from it's original version.
Share-Alike - The work can be use in a derivative work
only if the derivative work is shared under the same exact license as the
Why use Creative Commons?
The creative commons license is groundbreaking in that it
is made available to the public for free, and is the first copyright scheme to
also help track and find material covered under it's licenses. When a creative
commons license is created, three versions of the license are provided. A
"human-readable" version that summarizes the license in an easily understandable
way, a "Lawyer-readable" version that contains the full legal text, and a
"Machine-readable" version that is used to track and search through all the
material covered under creative commons licenses.