Creative Commons 3.0
When a large corporate body and a suburban teen can use the same platform to air a great idea or persuasive stream of thought, what protects one or the other from negligence of source citation or outright content theft? It's harder to track information back to its origins when the origin itself can be added, edited, published and deleted on a whim. Noting that the corporate machine might be slightly better able than the teen at navigating the complex world of content rights, Creative Commons came up with a solution as simple and fluid as the flow of information it is often meant to protect. And recently, the 3.0 version of said solution has been unwrapped.While we fantasize about a world in which some would consider the usefulness of their content before pushing the "publish" button, easy-to-use publishing platforms -- such as MovableType, WordPress, Vox, Blogger, and many others -- ensure everyone has an opportunity to publish, and Creative Commons helps protect your unique genius (which someone out there surely appreciates). Creative Commons 3.0 enables regular internet users to protect their work and grant usage permissions with a series of customizable licenses. Internet publishers (website owners, bloggers, newsletter writers, Flickr users, wiki scribblers, etc.) simply specify the type of license they need and add a Creative Commons button to their toiled-upon travaux (see the Creative Commons site for an example). When clicked, this button tells people whether they're allowed to republish your work and under what conditions (including permissions to edit). This makes the process of distributing content less time-consuming for publishers. Creative Commons 3.0 includes features unheard-of in the previous version. A few big ones:
  • Separation of the "generic" from the US license. Creative Commons now provides both a CC US License and an "unported" license, which is a fancy way of saying "new generic license." A CC core license means your specifications will be honored by a specific country.
    Creative Commons currently has a CC core license for over 30 countries, each of which have their own unique copyright laws. An "unported" license is for publishers whose countries do not yet have a ported license.
  • Consistent and immediate treatment of moral rights and collecting society royalties. Essentially, Creative Commons will honor a jurisdiction's policy regarding publishing royalties, and will uphold this policy across the board.
    Moral rights protect an author's right to the creative property in question. CC licenses protect an author's moral right of attribution by creating permissions for reusing content. Most jurisdictions also recognize a moral right of integrity, which protects publishers from suffering edits to their work that may scar their honour. The Creative Commons license honours jurisdiction decisions about whether or not to uphold this right, and do not interfere.
  • Stronger protections against misuse of the attribution requirement on a CC license to wrongly suggest a relationship with the licensor or author. While Creative Commons implicitly frowned upon this behavior before, broader use of the license compels them to solidify their benign disapproval with something more de jure: inclusion of these restrictions on the Legal Code and Common Deed to ensure zero confusion.
  • Inclusion of Compatibility structures. Licenses now enable derivatives to be relicensed under a "Creative Commons Compatible License." This carries forth the Creative Commons' running objective that people be free to mash-up information in a way that doesn't step on originators' toes or shirk credit where it's due.
That's some heavy stuff to plow through. The point is if you'd like to protect your creativity but still share it with as many people as possible, a deceptively simple Creative Commons 3.0 license can help. You can obtain one here. The ever watchful Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped lends a helpful tip. When you add the CC license code to your site, include the rel="license" attribute in the CC license URL. This ensures your content will be indexed in Google's advanced search index, which also filters searches by usage rights. Most questions you might have about the Creative Commons 3.0 license can be answered in this lengthy (but devastatingly helpful) explanation of its inner workings. If you're curious -- as we are -- about numbers, checkout Terry Hancock's article on CC stats over at Free Software Magazine.