Landman Library

Works Almost Free of Copyrights

Basics

  • Creative Commons (CC) provides producers of copyrighted works with a way to limit their exclusive copyrights and grant a range of other rights to other producers.
  • Some rights reserves vs. All right reserved. The emphasis is on sharing rights to your work for other people’s creative purposes rather than reserving your rights which limits subsequent use.
  • Arguably, CC licenses (Scroll down to “The Licenses”) have become the most prominent form of copyright protection in the U.S. after copyright law itself.
  • The licenses range from “Change my work. Mention my name. Make money off your new work.” to “Do whatever you want with my work. You don’t even have to mention my name.”

More Details

You’ve read the notice “All rights reserved.” and that’s true with copyright protection. The copyright holder has, “reserves,” the right to decide what someone else can do with her or his work (Definition).

The author can choose to limit some of those rights, though. But how can that person notify users that s/he has done so? Creative Commons (CC) licenses are an increasingly common way for people to do that. Like copyright, no registration is necessary (Look for the “License” heading on the webpage.), but the author does need to feature the appropriate license designation for the degree of rights s/he is trying to reserve.

Many people on the Internet are using CC licenses. Once you start to recognize the licenses(Look for the Licenses heading on the webpage.), you may start noticing them all over. There is also a license for works voluntarily being placed in the Public Domain, i.e., completely free of copyright limitations.

You can even search the Internet specifically for CC-licensed works. Remember, whether or not you find a © symbol on a work, it is copyrighted.

Pros and Cons

On the pro side, CC licenses allow creators to share with other creators without the latter having to actively reach out to the former to obtain written permission.

On the con side, one big issue is that the licenses are irrevocable, meaning that if you discover something you created has the potential to make lots of money, you can’t go back and copyright your work to obtain royalties.

Creative Commons Licenses: Advantages and Drawbacks is the perspective of an blogger/writer/composer/photographer who offers a counterpoint to the issue of irrevocability.

Creative Commons Licensing shares 10 cons of CC licensing including irrevocability.