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7 Things You Should Know About Creative Commons

7 Things You Should Know About Creative Commons

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Published by Mourad Diouri

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Published by: Mourad Diouri on Apr 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/19/2011

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CreativeCommons
Scenario
In the all, Dr. Craword will be teaching a new course on19th- and 20th-century U.S. municipal politics, coveringwell-known stories o corruption and grat but also citieswhose citizens beneted rom the eorts o their lead-ers. In putting together the coursepack or the class,Craword starts with her own bookshel, pulling letters,newspaper articles, contracts, and other documents.She then turns to the Web, which provides numerousartiacts and historical analyses related to the evolutiono municipal politics.Because the coursepacks will be printed and sold tostudents in the class, Craword knows she needspermission to include copyrighted materials. Manyo the older documents she wants to use are alreadyin the public domain, their copyright protections hav-ing expired decades ago. One article about RichardJ. Daley was written by a colleague Craword knowsrom proessional activities, and she is able to obtain hispermission without much trouble. For other materials,Craword spends several weeks contacting numerouspublishers and authors, some o whom agree to let theircontent appear in the coursepack. By contrast, o theworks she locates online many are covered by CreativeCommons licenses, each one clearly indicating whatuses are allowed. Without having to contact copyrightowners, Craword knows which works she can includein the coursepack and, moreover, which ones she canencourage her students to use in their own work. Politi-cal cartoons, in particular, provide sharp insights intopublic sentiments about local politics. Craword ndsdozens o such cartoons covered by a Creative Com-mons license that allows modications, and one projectshe assigns to the students is to pick a cartoon roman earlier era and update it to refect a current situa-tion. Craword shares the coursepack with other aculty,some o whom decide to use the Creative Commonscontent in their own classes. She also creates a Website where she posts her students’ cartoons—with theirown Creative Commons licenses—inviting others to useand share them.
 What is it?
Creative Commons is an alternative to traditional copyright, devel-oped by a nonprot organization o the same name. By deault,most original works are protected by copyright, which conersspecic rights regarding use and distribution. Creative Commonsallows copyright owners to release some o those rights whileretaining others, with the goal o increasing access to and sharingo intellectual property.Copyright has historically been an all-or-nothing proposition: awork is either in the public domain, or its owner asserts “all rightsreserved.” The term o copyright protection or most works hasstretched considerably, rom 14 years (in 1790, when copyrightlaw was rst enacted in the United States) to 70 years past thedeath o the work’s creator. Seeing the need or options besides“public domain” and “all rights reserved,” the creators o CreativeCommons sought to establish a middle ground o “some rightsreserved” that respects intellectual property while expanding theacceptable uses o protected material. All licenses require attribu-tion, and the least restrictive only requires attribution. Other licens-es include “No Derivatives,” “NonCommercial-NoDerivatives,” and“Share Alike,” which requires derivatives to have the same licenseas the original. Using Creative Commons, a photographer, orexample, might choose to allow anyone to reproduce her photosor make derivative works rom them, as long as it is done or non-commercial purposes.
 Who’s doing it?
Higher education is rooted in the belie that the ree exchange o knowledge is undamental to the common good, and aculty andresearchers in large numbers have begun using Creative Com-mons licenses to acilitate a climate o openness and sharing.Granting explicit permission or certain uses o one’s scholarlymaterial expands opportunities or collaborative work and increas-es the proessional stature o individuals whose creative output isused in other academic eorts. Two high-prole repositories o learning materials attach Creative Commons licenses to their con-tent: MIT’s OpenCourseWare and Connexions, a project startedat Rice University. OpenCourseWare was launched to providepublic, online access to the curricular materials rom virtually all o MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses. All the content on thesite is oered under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike2.5 license, which allows users to copy and distribute the work andto make derivative works, as long as such uses include attribution,

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