Finally, I added the Creative Commons badge to my site. I’ve been geeked out about CC for a while because it is so perfect for the digital media age, an era where there is true economic value in sharing. In fact, in the present era, failure to share is detrimental to a publisher.
I started thinking about evangelizing a bit for CC when I read Mark Glaser’s piece on CC in October.
Publishers should consider using CC on the web. At every newspaper I’ve ever worked at, we got calls from people asking if they could freely use our content (homeowners associations, churches, families wanting to share) and we had to field those calls and answer those questions. Of course, for non-commercial use, we always said yes. An explicit CC removes the need for people to ask.
And when you’re sharing, and you’re requiring a link back to your site, you’re helping to spread the word about your publication.
Some publishers may be afraid to take this step because they think they are giving up copyright, but they’re not. CC is a license. You don’t surrender copyright (or even really control) at all. Here’s what the CC faq says on the subject:
A Creative Commons license is based on copyright. So they apply to all works that are protected by copyright law. The kinds of works that are protected by copyright law are books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, for example. …
Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rightsâ€”such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyrightâ€”including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing.
If I had another piece of advice for publishers considering CC: Don’t allow remix. News organizations have ethical obligations to accuracy and fairness not to explicitly allow people to change the news. You need to preserve the right to prohibit people from changing the meaning of the content.