The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that earlier in the month a new badge appeared on the bottom left – on some posts – which is my Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons is an organisation that works with legal establishments worldwide to agree a format whereby people can share their work yet protect their intellectual property in an easy to use way.  Easy to use for people like me.  There’s lots of criticism of the approach, and some say that it’s entirely unnecessary as copyright laws work perfectly well.  The trouble is they aren’t easy to understand, for most of us – not the nuances, anyway.

The whole point is, you want people to read/see your work, you may be happy for them reblog it, or even to develop it on their blog, but you don’t want people to fail to recognise the idea as yours.  In theory, under ordinary copyright laws, people should contact you for permission every time they want to share your work.  Adding a Creative Commons licence shows people what you are happy for them to do with your work without contacting you for permission.

Some Rights Reserved

There are a number of options you can choose to build a Creative Commons licence that does what you want to do.  This is what I chose. Go and read the Wikipedia article or the explanations on the Creative Commons site if you want to use it yourself.  Don’t trust me!

  • Don’t care who uses it or what they do with it as long as they acknowledge you? – Attribution.  They have to say you did it first. The symbol is marked BY.  If you want to use my work, tell your readers who it’s by…
  • Don’t want anyone who uses your work free of charge to use it for gain?  That’s the Non-commercial part of the licence NC.
  • The tricky one for me was the issue of derivations from my work.  What if someone wanted to write and publish fanfic or a story featuring Sir Woebegone?  The Creative Commons option I’ve picked allows them to do that but I have to be acknowledged as the originator and they have to put that condition on anyone using their work – to acknowledge me (and put the condition on any of their work arising from sharing, etc) – SA

That last one is an issue I see debated in a many blogs – the shock and horror that someone has pirated their work, for example.  I take the Mark Coker view of this –  roughly,  if someone is up for pirating my work, they think it’s good enough to make money from, and if people buy it, more fool them because it’s cheaper from me!  On the other hand, thank you, pirates, for marketing my work in places I would never have reached otherwise.

Of course, they shouldn’t be making money from it since I have the NC licence clearly marked.  But if someone wants to write fanfic about my princelings* Fred and George… acknowledge the source and don’t make  money from it!  That also applies to my drawings, my covers and my photographs on the blog.

I might change my view if I become a best-selling author.  But for now, I hope that putting the CC licence on my blogs helps people who might want to repeat it somewhere clearer about how I feel about it, and to acknowledge the source.

As a user of other people’s work, I will do my best to acknowledge the author, owner, photographer, and so on. Please forgive me if I use your work on this blog and don’t acknowledge you; let me know and I’ll rectify it.

*Not to be confused with any other author’s characters named Fred and George

Creative Commons – licensed to share
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12 thoughts on “Creative Commons – licensed to share

  • 19 January, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’m so glad you addressed this topic as I just read about a blogger who was contacted by the image owner of a picture she used and had to pay out for using it on her blog! I just published a blog stating the Creative Commons license and linking it back to Wikipedia. Now I’m looking into copywriting my blog and protecting my work. Thank you for this informative and concise blog post.

    • 19 January, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      This is the reason I only use my own (or my husband’s) photos on my blog. Not so much fear of being sued, but fear of inadvertently failing to give credit where it is due. On a similar note, I recently spotted an Internet meme thing using a photo that belongs to my brother-in-law. Since he is a professional photographer, that is definitely a theft–though if he were at least credited, it could be good advertising 🙂

      • 19 January, 2015 at 5:04 pm

        Yes I totally agree! I will be using my own picture memes and I asked and received permission from five very talented website admins to use their work to link back to them. That’s very unfortunate for your brother. I think creative license and artistic talent are very important. I used a rotten ecard because it pertained to what my blog post was about last week. I went back to read it on my blog and saw it was copyrighted. So I did the right thing and removed it.

    • 19 January, 2015 at 6:38 pm

      I think it’s worthwhile considering the approach to sharing and making things available to the community free of charge. It’s just some things hit my Intellectual Property buttons, and then I realise I may need to consider others’ work too.

      • 20 January, 2015 at 12:54 am

        I totally understand and I appreciate your point of view Jemima.

  • 19 January, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Good post. This sounds like a much better approach than the simple statement I have at the bottom of my blog.

    • 19 January, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      I think your statement pretty much covers it. I think the logo makes it easily recognisable and more internationally understandable, too. Probably more an issue for me than you!

  • 19 January, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I’ve always wondered about the Copyright from Creative Commons. Will look into it more carefully now. Thank you for this post. 🙂

    • 19 January, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      You’re welcome!

  • 19 January, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for your excellent article. I just now followed your suit and did the same thing by adding a Creative Commons License too. <3

    • 19 January, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      Thank you!

      • 19 January, 2015 at 7:39 pm

        Oh and I lived in England for 3 years around RAF Lakenheath. Lived in a little town called Attleborough for a few months too. I loved England. <3

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