Intellectual theft of written and artistic works SUCKS.
However, you shouldn’t let fear of that stop you from sharing your art or written words with the world at large. That’s where a Creative Commons license comes in.
Using a Creative Commons license allows you to specify EXACTLY what rights you allow your creative works to be displayed with when you share them for free online, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
If you’ve got a gallery at a place like DeviantART, you may have seen these licenses already, since they’ve had the “CC” licensing integrated into their system for a few years now. However, have you really given thought as to what those various licenses mean? For those of you who haven’t heard of or used a Creative Commons license, or don’t quite understand what they are, here’s an easy to understand breakdown of the six “CC” licenses, with definitions from CreativeCommons.org.
Attribution - This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
Attribution ShareAlike - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
Attribution NoDerivs - This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
Attribution NonCommercial - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs - This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
There are several key words here in these licenses that make all the difference in what can or cannot be allowed.
Attribution - However your original work is used, displayed, and/or sold, CREDIT MUST BE GIVEN to you as its original artist.
NonCommercial - However your original work is used or displayed, NO PROFIT can be made off of it by the person sharing it.
ShareAlike - If your original work contains a ShareAlike provision in its license, any derivative work created by another user from it MUST USE THE SAME LICENSE.
NoDerivs - This is short for “No Derivatives.” This means that while other users can share it or display it, THEY CANNOT CHANGE THE ORIGINAL WORK.
If you are an artist or writer who wants to add a Creative Commons license to your artwork or writings here on Tumblr or elsewhere, it is really easy. The people running CreativeCommons.org has created a form you can fill out that will automatically generate the text/code you can add to your website.
All you have to do is go to creativecommons.org/choose and fill out the information they request. Below is an example of what the license looks like:
This is the code:
<a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/”><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0” src=”http://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc-nd/3.0/88x31.png” /></a><br /><span xmlns:dct=”http://purl.org/dc/terms/” href=”http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text” property=”dct:title” rel=”dct:type”>Cover Your Creativity: Protect Your Works with a Creative Commons License</span> by <span xmlns:cc=”http://creativecommons.org/ns#” property=”cc:attributionName”>C.R. Scott</span> is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/”>Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License</a>.
And this is what it looks like onscreen:
Cover Your Creativity: Protect Your Works with a Creative Commons License by C.R. Scott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
If you’d like to learn more about using Creative Commons licenses, or if you would like to learn more about how to support this organization’s great work, then please go and visit creativecommons.org.