With Liberty and Free-Sharing For All

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‘Use the power of the Web to learn more about CC and copyright.’  Well, alrighty, Professors.  Challenge heard and accepted.

I began my online research with the smartest site in the world: Google. :)

But as much as we all love Google, we never really spend more than a few fleeting seconds there at once, so in usual style, I took its suggestions and left it pretty quickly.

My first non-Google site was Creative Commons’ own site – why  not check out their own About Me website? Seems like a good starting point to me.

‘Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. ‘ Nifty!!  I love the idea of this.  Perusing the site, I found the ‘About the Licenses’ page – to me the most helpful page on the site.  Every aspect of the licenses is laid out with pretty, clear, easy-to-follow visuals, to help you understand what they are, how they work, and what your options are within the Creative Commons spectrum.  I love the flexibility creators have in choosing licenses that allow total freedom of use with their work, given they are credited for it, and in choosing whether or not they’ll allow their work to be modified or used for commercial purposes.  I also love the foresight involved in the ability to state that if anyone does wish to share your work after modifying it, they either do or do not have to use the same copyright terms.  I also think the three-layer construction of these licenses is a genius idea.  What’s the point if it’s not usable to everyone who…well, will be using the licenses?  They took care of the legal heads, the creative heads, and even the hardware and software.  They even thought of the computer itself, and the engines that people may use to search for work with their licenses!  Very nifty.  I’m liking what I’m reading about this so far.

But which do I want to use?  I’d love to be able to allow a completely free license and make my stuff public domain, but I really don’t feel like I know enough about that to feel confidant in doing that.  So, I think I’m going to go ahead and hop onto the UMW Library site and see if there are any scholarly articles on the topic.  Didn’t find anything. :( Very disappointing.  Back to Google I go, I guess.  (I do still love you, Google.) :)

And go figure, Google sent me straight to Wikipedia.  Don’t judge me.  Most of it was all the same, but what I really wanted was the criticisms section.  And while I admit, Wiki may not be the most scholarly of sources for such an endeavor, it usually makes for a good starting point.  (kindly ignore the fact that today it was my ending point)  I generally like to expose myself to the negative attention attracted by whatever I’m researching, so that I can assess for myself how valid or applicable they are, and how much I feel they matter to me.  And today, I felt that I found nothing of substance for my purposes of Creative Commons, and decided I was satisfied with good enough information this time.

So it would seem I’m ready to go, and should start looking into applying these licenses to my own masterpieces as soon as possible.  Heaven forbid I withhold my creative awesomeness from the rest of the creative world that is chomping at the bit for permission to use my stuff.  But still, which license do I use?

And then, perusing Twitter, I stumbled upon this little gem from cogdogblog.  Maybe I’m too idealistic at times, but I like to keep my world happy and clean and full of good will toward men – I don’t like to imagine an entity would actually take someone’s content and make full use of every loop hole they can find to avoid full attribution.  I don’t like to think that a person offering up resources and art for the benefit of all who are seeking it would be taken advantage of by a money-hungry, lazy, scheming organization.

But experience says, this is the reality.  And it’s sad.  But if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to do it right.  So I will apply a Creative Commons license to my stuff going forward, but it will not be the BY-attribute only license.  I will specify my expectations with an attribute, non-commercial, ShareAlike license.  As soon as I figure out where to put it.

From Wikimedia Commons Repository

Creative Commons Guidant Les Contributeurs from Wikimedia Commons Repository, as posted on Wikipedia article

With liberty and free-sharing for all.

And to my professors, did I credit the photo correctly?? :)


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