The Evolution Of The Creative Commons Spectrum

By SamuelRose, published at 10 May 2007 - 8:12pm, last updated 12 years 18 weeks ago.

[viaSocial Synergy Bliki]

One of the great things about the CreativeCommons license system is that it does not try to force any one solution upon a content creator. CreativeCommons licenses support a range, or spectrum of possibiblities for allowing signaling to others how and when they can re-use your content.

Another great attribute is that CC licenses enable the person who creates the content to instantly choose and use a license. There is no central authority to register with. You simply indicate somewhere in the content what the license is for it. Several search engines are starting to make it easier to find CreativeCommons content. See:

Searching through the CC search engine reveals how fast people are adopting and employing the license convention. And, while the CC license system is enabling people to create a SharingEconomy?, and a KnowledgeCommons? and MediaCommons?, unforseen potential collisions with with existing media copyright schemes may be an emergent byproduct of the growth of CreativeCommons.

LawrenceLessig explains in his Lessig Letter yesterday:

“At its core, Creative Commons is designed to support this sharing economy. Our free tools give creators a simple way to signal the rules under which they want to create. And, perhaps more importantly, by signaling clearly and reliably these freedoms, they encourage others who otherwise might hesitate to share and build upon that work. Thus, for example, the Public Library of Science publishes all of its articles under a CC license that gives users the freedom to share those articles broadly. Libraries and institutions around the world can now archive these works and make them available locally. Without the confidence of the CC licenses, no doubt lawyers within these different institutions would have panicked. The CC licenses let that panic be avoided, and invite many (who otherwise would not) to help share and build upon work.

The next challenge is to figure out how this sharing economy interacts with a traditional commercial economy. What happens when Time wants to use a fantastic CC-licensed Flickr photo? Or how does a hit on ccMixter move into the commercial space?

CC will never become a part of that commercial economy. But it is important, I believe, that we play a role in enabling this crossover. The alternative is a world we’re seeing too much of all ready: large entities that create sandboxes for “sharing,” but then effectively claim ownership over everything built within that sandbox. This is, in my view, not a sharing economy. It is instead simple sharecropping.

The key is to build alternatives that creators on the Internet can use to both create as they wish and keep control of their creativity. That’s the challenge I see over the next four years. And as we review over the next few weeks some of the best of CC from around the world, you’ll begin to see how this challenge might be met.”