Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses, known as Creative Commons licenses, free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, benefiting both copyright owners and licensees.
The organization was founded in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred with the support of Center for the Public Domain. The first article in a general interest publication about Creative Commons, written by Hal Plotkin, was published in February 2002. The first set of copyright licenses was released in December 2002. The founding management team that developed the licenses and built the Creative Commons infrastructure as we know it today included Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Glenn Otis Brown, Neeru Paharia, and Ben Adida.
In 2002 the Open Content Project, a 1998 precursor project by David A. Wiley, announced the Creative Commons as successor project and Wiley joined as CC director. Aaron Swartz played a role in the early stages of Creative Commons, as did Matthew Haughey.
As of May 2018 there were an estimated 1.4 billion works licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses. Wikipedia uses one of these licenses. As of May 2018, Flickr alone hosts over 415 million Creative Commons licensed photos.
Creative Commons is governed by a board of directors. Their licenses have been embraced by many as a way for creators to take control of how they choose to share their copyrighted works.
|Founded||January 15, 2001|
|Focus||Expansion of "reasonable", flexible copyright|
|Method||Creative Commons license|
|Ryan Merkley (CEO)|
Creative Commons has been described as being at the forefront of the copyleft movement, which seeks to support the building of a richer public domain by providing an alternative to the automatic "all rights reserved" copyright, and has been dubbed "some rights reserved". David Berry and Giles Moss have credited Creative Commons with generating interest in the issue of intellectual property and contributing to the re-thinking of the role of the "commons" in the "information age". Beyond that, Creative Commons has provided "institutional, practical and legal support for individuals and groups wishing to experiment and communicate with culture more freely."
Creative Commons attempts to counter what Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, considers to be a dominant and increasingly restrictive permission culture. Lessig describes this as "a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past." Lessig maintains that modern culture is dominated by traditional content distributors in order to maintain and strengthen their monopolies on cultural products such as popular music and popular cinema, and that Creative Commons can provide alternatives to these restrictions.
Until April 2018 Creative Commons had over 100 affiliates working in over 75 jurisdictions to support and promote CC activities around the world. In 2018 this affiliate network has been restructured into a network organisation. The network no longer relies on affiliate organisation but on individual membership organised in Chapter.
Creative Commons Korea (CC Korea) is the affiliated network of Creative Commons in South Korea. In March 2005, CC Korea was initiated by Jongsoo Yoon (in Korean: 윤종수), a Presiding Judge of Incheon District Court, as a project of Korea Association for Infomedia Law (KAFIL). The major Korean portal sites, including Daum and Naver, have been participating in the use of Creative Commons licences. In January 2009, the Creative Commons Korea Association was consequently founded as a non-profit incorporated association. Since then, CC Korea has been actively promoting the liberal and open culture of creation as well as leading the diffusion of Creative Common in the country.
Bassel Khartabil was a Palestinian Syrian open source software developer and has served as project lead and public affiliate for Creative Commons Syria. From March 15, 2012 he was detained by the Syrian government in Damascus at Adra Prison. On October 17, 2015 Creative Commons Board of Directors approved a resolution calling for Bassel Khartabil's release. In 2017 Bassel's wife received confirmation that Bassel had been executed shortly after she lost contact with him in 2015.
All current CC licenses (except the CC0 Public Domain Dedication tool) require attribution, which can be inconvenient for works based on multiple other works. Critics feared that Creative Commons could erode the copyright system over time or allow "some of our most precious resources – the creativity of individuals – to be simply tossed into the commons to be exploited by whomever has spare time and a magic marker."
Critics also worried that the lack of rewards for content producers will dissuade artists from publishing their work, and questioned whether Creative Commons is the commons that it purports to be.
Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig countered that copyright laws have not always offered the strong and seemingly indefinite protection that today's law provides. Rather, the duration of copyright used to be limited to much shorter terms of years, and some works never gained protection because they did not follow the now-abandoned compulsory format.
The maintainers of Debian, a GNU and Linux distribution known for its strict adherence to a particular definition of software freedom, rejected the Creative Commons Attribution License prior to version 3 as incompatible with the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) due to the license's anti-DRM provisions (which might, due to ambiguity, be covering more than DRM) and its requirement that downstream users remove an author's credit upon request from the author. Version 3.0 of the Creative Commons licenses addressed these concerns and, except for the non commercial and no-derivative variants, are considered to be compatible with the DFSG.
Kent Anderson, writing for The Scholarly Kitchen, a blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, criticizes CC as being dependent on copyright and not really departing from it, and as being more complex and complicating than the latter – thus the public does not scrutinize CC, reflexively accepting it as one would a software license – while at the same time weakening the rights provided by copyright. Anderson ends up concluding that this is the point, and that "Creative Commons receives significant funding from large information companies like Google, Nature Publishing Group, and RedHat", and that Google money is especially linked to CC's history; for him, CC is "an organization designed to promulgate the interests of technology companies and Silicon Valley generally".
Mako Hill asserted that Creative Commons fails to establish a "base level of freedom" that all Creative Commons licenses must meet, and with which all licensors and users must comply. "By failing to take any firm ethical position and draw any line in the sand, CC is a missed opportunity. ... CC has replaced what could have been a call for a world where 'essential rights are unreservable' with the relatively hollow call for 'some rights reserved.'" He also argued that Creative Commons worsens license proliferation, by providing multiple licenses that are incompatible.
The Creative Commons website states, "Since each of the six CC licenses functions differently, resources placed under different licenses may not necessarily be combined with one another without violating the license terms." Works licensed under incompatible licenses may not be recombined in a derivative work without obtaining permission from the copyright owner.
Richard Stallman of the FSF stated in 2005 that he couldn't support Creative Commons as an activity because "it adopted some additional licenses which do not give everyone that minimum freedom", that freedom being "the freedom to share, noncommercially, any published work". Those licenses have since been retired by Creative Commons.
Creative Commons is only a service provider for standardized license text, not a party in any agreement. Abusive users can brand the copyrighted works of legitimate copyright holders with Creative Commons licenses and re-upload these works to the internet. No central database of Creative Commons works is controlling all licensed works and the responsibility of the Creative Commons system rests entirely with those using the licences. This situation is, however, not specific to Creative Commons. All copyright owners must individually defend their rights and no central database of copyrighted works or existing license agreements exists. The United States Copyright Office does keep a database of all works registered with it, but absence of registration does not imply absence of copyright – and CC licensed works can be registered on the same terms as unlicenced works or works licensed under any other licences.
Although Creative Commons offers multiple licenses for different uses, some critics suggested that the licenses still do not address the differences among the media or among the various concerns that different authors have.
Lessig wrote that the point of Creative Commons is to provide a middle ground between two extreme views of copyright protection – one demanding that all rights be controlled, and the other arguing that none should be controlled. Creative Commons provides a third option that allows authors to pick and choose which rights they want to control and which they want to grant to others. The multitude of licenses reflects the multitude of rights that can be passed on to subsequent creators.
Erik Möller raised concerns about the use of Creative Commons' non-commercial license. Works distributed under the Creative Commons Non-Commercial license are not compatible with many open-content sites, including Wikipedia, which explicitly allow and encourage some commercial uses. Möller explained that "the people who are likely to be hurt by an -NC license are not large corporations, but small publications like weblogs, advertising-funded radio stations, or local newspapers."
Lessig responded that the current copyright regime also harms compatibility and that authors can lessen this incompatibility by choosing the least restrictive license. Additionally, the non-commercial license is useful for preventing someone else from capitalizing on an author's work when the author still plans to do so in the future. The non-commercial licenses have also been criticized for being too vague about which uses count as "commercial" and "non-commercial".
Great Minds, a non-profit educational publisher that released works under an -NC license, sued FedEx for violating the license because a school had used its services to mass-produce photocopies of the work, thus commercially exploiting the works. A U.S. judge dismissed the case in February 2017, ruling that FedEx was an intermediary, and that the provision of the license "does not limit a licensee's ability to use third parties in exercising the rights granted [by the licensor]." Great Minds appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit later that year. The 2nd Circuit upheld the lower court's decision in March 2018, concluding that FedEx neither infringed copyrights nor violated the license. One of circuit judges Susan L. Carney argued in the court statement:
We hold that, in view of the absence of any clear license language to the contrary, licensees may use third‐party agents such as commercial reproduction services in furtherance of their own permitted noncommercial uses. Because FedEx acted as the mere agent of licensee school districts when it reproduced Great Minds' materials, and because there is no dispute that the school districts themselves sought to use Great Minds' materials for permissible purposes, we conclude that FedEx's activities did not breach the license or violate Great Minds' copyright.
In 2007, Virgin Mobile Australia launched a bus stop advertising campaign which promoted its mobile phone text messaging service using the work of amateur photographers who uploaded their work to the photo-sharing site Flickr using a Creative Commons by Attribution license. Users licensing their images this way freed their work for use by any other entity, as long as the original creator was attributed credit, without any other compensation being required. Virgin upheld this single restriction by printing a URL, leading to the photographer's Flickr page, on each of their ads. However, one picture depicted 15-year-old Alison Chang posing for a photo at her church's fund-raising carwash, with the superimposed, mocking slogan "Dump Your Pen Friend". Chang sued Virgin Mobile and Creative Commons. The photo was taken by Chang's church youth counsellor, Justin Ho-Wee Wong, who uploaded the image to Flickr under the Creative Commons license.
The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.
On 27 November 2007, Chang filed for a voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit against Creative Commons, focusing their lawsuit against Virgin Mobile. The case was thrown out of court due to lack of jurisdiction and subsequently Virgin Mobile did not incur any damages towards the plaintiff.
I'm closing OpenContent because I think Creative Commons is doing a better job of providing licensing options which will stand up in court
One moment, Alison Chang, a 15-year-old student from Dallas, is cheerfully goofing around at a local church-sponsored car wash, posing with a friend for a photo. Weeks later, that photo is posted online and catches the eye of an ad agency in Australia, and the altered image of Alison appears on a billboard in Adelaide as part of a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign.
20 minutos is a Spanish free newspaper, with local editions in several Spanish cities, published by Multiprensa & Mas S.L..
Multiprensa & Mas S.L. was founded in Madrid in 1999. The founder of 20 minutos is José Antonio Martínez Soler.
20 minutos is published under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons licence, which entitles anyone to freely copy, distribute, display, make derivative works and commercial use of the work. Additionally, the newspaper can be downloaded from their site.The company is a pioneer in publishing quality free daily newspapers in Spain. Its majority stockholder is 20 Min Holding, a leader in free daily newspapers in Switzerland (20 minutes in French and 20 Minuten in German), France (20 minutes), and Spain. 20 Min Holding's majority stockholder is Schibsted, a Norwegian communication group that was founded in 1839, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, and has a strong presence in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Finland, France, and Spain, where it is the owner of both paid and free newspapers, television stations, radio stations, multimedia, etc.
For many years in Spain it battled rival free newspapers ADN, Metro and Qué!, all of whom finally stopped due to the crisis, and since 2011, 20 minutos has dominated and remains in circulation in many parts of Spain.
The CEO of 20 Min Holding is Sverre Munck and was born in 1953. He is a Norwegian economist, with a PhD from Stanford and Yale. He is also Executive VP (International Operations) at Schibsted ASA, President of Multiprensa Holding, owner of Multiprensa & Mas, the publisher of "20 Minutes" in Spain, and President of the 20 Min Holding group.Australasia
Australasia, a region of Oceania, comprises Australia, New Zealand, neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean and, sometimes, the island of New Guinea (which is more often considered to be part of Melanesia). Charles de Brosses coined the term (as French Australasie) in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (1756). He derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia (to the east) and the southeast Pacific (Magellanica). The bulk of Australasia sits on the Indo-Australian Plate, together with India.Creative Commons license
A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted "work". A CC license is used when an author wants to give other people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that he or she (that author) has created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, he or she might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of a given work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.There are several types of Creative Commons licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 2001. There have also been five versions of the suite of licenses, numbered 1.0 through 4.0. As of December 2018, the 4.0 license suite is the most current.
In October 2014 the Open Knowledge Foundation approved the Creative Commons CC BY, CC BY-SA and CC0 licenses as conformant with the "Open Definition" for content and data.Definition of Free Cultural Works
The Definition of Free Cultural Works is a definition of free content from 2006. The project evaluates and recommends compatible free content licenses.Fars News Agency
The Fars News Agency is a news agency in Iran. While it describes itself as "Iran's leading independent news agency", it is widely described by news media to be a "semi-official" news agency of the Government of Iran. All its content is Creative Commons licensed.Flickr
Flickr (pronounced "flicker") is an image hosting service and video hosting service. It was created by Ludicorp in 2004. It has changed ownership several times and has been owned by SmugMug since April 2018.The Verge reported in March 2013 that Flickr had a total of 87 million registered members and more than 3.5 million new images uploaded daily. In August 2011, the site reported that it was hosting more than 6 billion images. Photos and videos can be accessed from Flickr without the need to register an account, but an account must be made to upload content to the site. Registering an account also allows users to create a profile page containing photos and videos that the user has uploaded and also grants the ability to add another Flickr user as a contact. For mobile users, Flickr has official mobile apps for iOS, Android, and an optimized mobile site.Free-culture movement
The free-culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify the creative works of others in the form of free content or open content without compensation to, or the consent of, the work's original creators, by using the Internet and other forms of media.
The movement objects to what they consider over-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture."Creative Commons is an organization started by Lawrence Lessig which provides licenses that permit sharing and remixing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various Creative Commons-licensed works.
The free-culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is aligned with the free and open-source-software movement.
Today, the term stands for many other movements, including open access (OA), the remix culture, the hacker culture, the access to knowledge movement, the Open Source Learning, the copyleft movement and the public domain movement.Free content
Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.Freeware
Freeware is software, most often proprietary, that is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user. There is no agreed-upon set of rights, license, or EULA that defines freeware unambiguously; every publisher defines its own rules for the freeware it offers. For instance, modification, redistribution by third parties, and reverse engineering without the author's permission are permitted by some publishers but prohibited by others. Unlike with free and open-source software, which are also often distributed free of charge, the source code for freeware is typically not made available. Freeware may be intended to benefit its producer by, for example, encouraging sales of a more capable version, as in the freemium and shareware business models.Two historic examples of freeware are Skype and Adobe Acrobat Reader.GNU Free Documentation License
The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project. It is similar to the GNU General Public License, giving readers the rights to copy, redistribute, and modify (except for "invariant sections") a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities (greater than 100), the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient.
The GFDL was designed for manuals, textbooks, other reference and instructional materials, and documentation which often accompanies GNU software. However, it can be used for any text-based work, regardless of subject matter. For example, the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia uses the GFDL (coupled with the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License) for all of its text.GeoNames
GeoNames is a geographical database available and accessible through various web services, under a Creative Commons attribution license.HistoryLink
HistoryLink is an online encyclopedia of Washington State history. The site has nearly 7,000 entries and attracts 5,000 daily visitors. It has 500 biographies and more than 14,000 images.The non-profit historical organization History Ink produces HistoryLink.org, stating that it is the nation's first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. Walt Crowley was the founding president and executive director.Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File (German: Gemeinsame Normdatei; also known as the Universal Authority File) or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used mainly for documentation in libraries and increasingly also by archives and museums. The GND is managed by the German National Library (German: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek; DNB) in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licence.The GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, and an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It also comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format.The Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued:
Name Authority File (German: Personennamendatei; PND)
Corporate Bodies Authority File (German: Gemeinsame Körperschaftsdatei; GKD)
Subject Headings Authority File (German: Schlagwortnormdatei; SWD)
Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv (German: Einheitssachtitel-Datei des Deutschen Musikarchivs; DMA-EST)At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.Internet Speculative Fiction Database
The Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) is a database of bibliographic information on genres considered speculative fiction, including science fiction and related genres such as fantasy fiction and horror fiction. The ISFDB is a volunteer effort, with both the database and wiki being open for editing and user contributions. The ISFDB database and code are available under Creative Commons licensing and there is support within both Wikipedia and ISFDB for interlinking. The data are reused by other organizations, such as Freebase, under the creative commons license.Public domain
The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.The works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain (see waiver); some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA's World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission".
As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another. Some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, and the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country. The term public domain may also be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", and the "information commons".Share-alike
Share-alike is a copyright licensing term, originally used by the Creative Commons project, to describe works or licences that require copies or adaptations of the work to be released under the same or similar licence as the original. Copyleft licences are free content or free software licences with a share-alike condition.
Two currently-supported Creative Commons licences have the ShareAlike condition: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (a copyleft, free content licence) and Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (a proprietary licence).
The term has also been used outside copyright law to refer to a similar plan for patent licensing.Wikinews
Wikinews is a free-content news source wiki and a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. The site works through collaborative journalism. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has distinguished Wikinews from Wikipedia by saying "on Wikinews, each story is to be written as a news story as opposed to an encyclopedia article." The neutral point of view policy espoused in Wikinews distinguishes it from other citizen journalism efforts such as Indymedia and OhmyNews. In contrast to most projects of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikinews allows original work under the form of original reporting and interviews.Xeno-canto
xeno-canto is a citizen science project in which volunteers record, upload and annotate recordings of birdsong and bird calls. All the recordings are published under one of the Creative Commons licenses, including some with open licences.
The data has been re-used in scientific papers. The website is supported by a number of academic and birdwatching institutions worldwide, with its primary support being in the Netherlands.ZooKeys
ZooKeys is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography. It was established in 2008 and the editor-in-chief is Terry Erwin (Smithsonian Institution). It is published by Pensoft Publishers.
ZooKeys provides all new taxa to the Encyclopedia of Life on the day of publication.