With the internet opening up a whole new world of digital publishing opportunities for even the most basic of IT literate users amongst us, so too has it created a huge grey area with its billions of users being unclear on what you can legally share and reproduce. Although you may be happy to publish your work and have people share it for the same purpose as you intended, you may not be happy with it being re-produced under somebody else’s name, or for profit. We all know how easy this has become to do and how much it annoys you when it happens.
If you’re a blogger, you may have worried about your work being copied and pasted and ending up on another blog under the guise of someone else. You just hope that people have respect and manners for your hard work and mutual respect for the online community of learning that we choose reside in. Alternatively, you may have a desire for people to freely share your work and re-produce it (that may have been your motivation for creating the work in the first place), but you struggle to communicate this effectively with your viewing public, leaving people unsure if they can use it without seeking permission.
Copyright was created long before the dawn of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions that we take for granted on the network eg. copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. Standard copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted by the author in advance. However, one facility that is out there that can help with communicating your copyright and sharing conditions is the Creative Commons licensing organisation. Creative Commons licensing provides it’s users with a free, public, and simple infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the internet and the reality of copyright law.
There are 6 main licenses freely available to use from Creative commons and I strongly suggest that you take the time to choose the license that works for you and than tag it on to the bottom of all your online work.
All of my work carries my licensing details and the license that I have chosen to use for the majority of my online blog posts is the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License which carries the following logo:
This has 3 sharing conditions represented by each of the 3 circular images in the logo above.
- It can be downloaded or shared as long as the author is credited
- It can not be used for commercial profit
- It can not be changed or tweaked, it must be shared as it is
For me, I like the fact that I can communicate my desire for my work to be shared, whilst also protecting my right to be credited as the original author.
Have a think about how this can work for you and remember, when you see the Creative Commons logo on somebodies work, respect their sharing wishes.