The growth of online content – articles, pictures, music and videos – quickly led to a widely recognized need for protection against unwanted sharing and duplication. Copyrights were an obvious first choice since they already accomplished this job for offline content. However, 15 years ago, when Copyrights were the only option available for protecting online content, many bloggers and online content creators were left with an all-or-nothing option. Either you protect and control everything on your site, or you choose not to get a copyright and protect nothing.
Creative Commons came along around 2001 to provide a third option: to protect some content and share others.
With the different creative commons licenses, you can now choose how your content will be shared. For organizations that publish informative content for the benefit of their readers, they often want this information to be shared, just not abused.
Copyrights are expensive. Nonprofit organizations, small companies, and personal bloggers often forgo copyrights because of this expense, and because they do not actually wish to restrict all types of content sharing. Creative commons addresses both of these issues. It is a free license that allows “creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.”
My husband started blogging in early 2013 on a website he created called running50.com. He created this website to raise money for an organization he felt strongly about and to tell the stories of a friend’s journey home from the war that he felt even more strongly about.
He knew he may want to publish these stories someday, but used the blog to first organize the content and practice putting these verbal conversations and interviews into typed words. He had no interest in paying for a copyright on this work. Any money involved in this effort was donated. But if he didn’t bother to protect any of his content, it could have hurt his ability to publish in the future. My husband was a perfect candidate for a creative commons license.
After the fundraiser, he moved most of his work to the website strongeratthebrokenplaces.com, which proudly displays a creative commons license. Many of the stories on this site are inches away from being published in an edited collection!
How to apply a creative commons license:
Applying this creative commons license was quick, easy, and free. A plethora of information about the different licenses between the licenses and how they apply is available at creativecommons.org, and in case you need more, YouTube provides videos showing how to add creative commons via WordPress.