things you should know about...
In the all, Dr. Craword will be teaching a new course on19th- and 20th-century U.S. municipal politics, coveringwell-known stories o corruption and grat but also citieswhose citizens beneted rom the eorts o their lead-ers. In putting together the coursepack or the class,Craword starts with her own bookshel, pulling letters,newspaper articles, contracts, and other documents.She then turns to the Web, which provides numerousartiacts and historical analyses related to the evolutiono municipal politics.Because the coursepacks will be printed and sold tostudents in the class, Craword 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 Craword knowsrom proessional activities, and she is able to obtain hispermission without much trouble. For other materials,Craword 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, Craword 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. Craword ndsdozens o such cartoons covered by a Creative Com-mons license that allows modications, and one projectshe assigns to the students is to pick a cartoon roman earlier era and update it to refect a current situa-tion. Craword 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 nonprot organization o the same name. By deault,most original works are protected by copyright, which conersspecic 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 proessional stature o individuals whose creative output isused in other academic eorts. Two high-prole 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 oered 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,