Friday, February 09, 2007

Creative Commons - Spread the Love

Creative Commons License

Have you ever found yourself working on a presentation and wondered if all the media you were using was in copyright compliance? Are you constantly looking for copyright free media to use in presentations? Have you ever had to go back into your personal archives to delete and destroy materials on which the fair use rights have expired? (I really hate when that happens.) If all of this has happened to you, you should be looking into media given a Creative Commons license. Content placed under a Creative Commons (CC) license lacks the heavy restrictions that accompany the standard copyright license.

There are 4 conditions that can (but don't necessarily) accompany a CC license:
  • Attribution - You must attribute the content that you are using to the original creator. (Basically include citations.)
  • No Derivative Works - You must use the work as a whole in its entirety without alteration. (You can include a picture under CC in your powerpoint, but you cannot alter or crop it or change it in any way.)
  • Share-A-Like - Anything that you create that includes content under this CC license must also be placed under a CC license. (This spreads the meme.)
  • No Commercial Use - You can use the CC content however you like as long as it is not for a commercial purpose.
Now that you have an idea of what Creative Commons is, let me give you some ideas of how you can put this to work for you. There are three sites that specifically speak to the need for media with lenient restrictions.
  • - Flickr is a social photo sharing site that allows you to place creative commons licenses on your photos. You can then search the site for everybody's photos that have a specific license that you need. Need a photo of the Great Wall of China? There are 150 of them under the attribution only license! Great for powerpoint presentations and anything else that uses pictures. I find that the pictures on flickr tend to be of higher quality than those found at Google Images and you don't have to worry about copyright.
  • The Free Sound Project - The Freesound Project is a database of sound effects and music loops that are all under a Creative Commons license. This resource is great for putting together narratives, radio plays and even adding a few sound effects to a powerpoint. (Warning: Some of the sounds are saved in a format called FLAC. You need some extra software to convert these sounds into something usable by another program. Don't worry, there are FLAC converters that are Open Source!)
  • ccMixter - "ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons, where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want." (ccMixter, accessed Feb. 5, 2007)
Now that you have some idea what Creative Commons is you may ask yourself, "How can I help spread the word?" Educate your students and make sure that they know the difference between copyrighted media and Creative Commons media, and make sure they understand that media under a CC license gives them freedom and flexibility to do what they want. Copyright does not.


Judy Gressel said...

thank you for sharing your knowledge about Creative Commons. Ilook forward to your panel discussion on this topic and intellectual property at the May 1st NICE meeting.

Judy Gressel

Judy Gressel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cbheaser said...

I just watched the movie Revolution OS for my technology class. It details the milestones of the Open Source movement. I found the discussion interesting as contrasts are made to Microsoft's philosophies and actions. I hadn't realized that Mozilla is Netscape's free source code.

Here is the link

and the description from the site:

Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary which traces the history of GNU, Linux, and the open source and free software movements. It features ... all » several interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs (and hackers-cum-entrepreneurs), including Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf.

The film begins in medias res with an IPO, and then sets the historical stage by showing the beginnings of software development back in the day when software was shared on paper tape for the price of the paper itself. It then segues to Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists in which he asks Computer Hobbyists to not share, but to buy software. (This letter was written by Gates when Microsoft was still based in Arizona and spelled "Micro-Soft".) Richard Stallman then explains how and why he left the MIT Lab for Artificial Intelligence in order to devote his life to the development of free software, as well as how he started with the GNU project.

Linus Torvalds is interviewed on his development of the Linux kernel as well as on the GNU/Linux naming controversy and Linux's further evolution, including its commercialization.

Richard Stallman remarks on some of the ideological aspects of open source vis-รก-vis Communism and capitalism and well as on several aspects of the development of GNU/Linux.

Michael Tiemann (interviewed in a desert) tells how he met Stallman and got an early version of Stallman's GCC and founded Cygnus Solutions.

Larry Augustin tells how he combined the resulting GNU software and a normal PC to create a UNIX-like Workstation which cost one third the price of a workstation by Sun Microsystems even though it was three times as powerful. His narrative includes his early dealings with venture capitalists, the eventual capitalization and commodification of Linux for his own company, VA Linux, and ends with its IPO.

Frank Hecker of Netscape tells how Netscape executives released the source code for Netscape's browser, one of the signal events which made Open Source a force to be reckoned with by business executives, the mainstream media, and the public at large.

(this text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)