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Choosing an open license

How to choose the correct Creative Commons license for your works? This presentation goes through the basics, the CC license clauses, and the suitability of various combinations to different needs, such as remixing.

Tarmo Toikkanen

on 4 November 2010

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Transcript of Choosing an open license

Choosing an open license
No Derivatives
Share Alike
Creative Commons is the most common licensing system for open and free content.
Let's assume you've authored a creative work...
How should you go about publishing it?
If not, don't publish your works online at all.
Or at least put them behind a password.
If you publish something openly online, you implicitly give everyone the right to privately use that content.
Private use (closely resembles fair use in the USA) means that a private person may do whatever they wish with a piece of content, as long as that use is not public. Home and friends are private, as are closed events.
If private use is ok, you can go ahead and publish online.
2nd question: Will you allow redistribution of your works?
1st question: Will you allow private use?
If you don't allow redistribution, publish your works under normal copyright.
This leaves the user of the works with just the right for private use.
Redistribution means that whoever has a copy of the works may republish it, for example in their blog.
If redistribution doesn't sound like a bad idea, you get to choose an open license to suit your needs.
All CC lisences come with the clause "Attribution".
Whenever the works are redistributed or publicly presented, the author must be mentioned. This means your works cannot be shown publicly without the audience knowing your name.
5th question: Will you allow commercial use of your works?
If you don't allow commercial use, add the clause that prevents it. If commercial use is ok, leave the clause out.
This clause is problematic, since commercial is an ambiguous word.
A blog that contains ads is not commercial. Nor is primary education. But how about internal training at a company? Writing a public report? Using an image in a publication?
3rd question: Can derivative works be created?
If you don't want your works to be modified, add this clause. If altering is ok, leave the clause out.
A derivative work means that your work is altered in a significant way, and this modified version is publicly shown.
Attaching a picture to a blog or a book does not mean creating a derivative work, nor does printing text from the net, but altering the contents of a photo or text means deriving.
The publisher of a derivative work must still show the name of the original author but also their own name, and somehow distinguish between the original content and the changes they've made. Later alterations cannot be attributed to the original author.
4th question: If a work can be altered, must the derived works be published using the same license?
If you already chose the clause that prehibits alterations (ND), this clause is not necessary.
Using the same license guarantees that improvements made by others remain free and open, and you can utilize them as well.
If you want to retain the freedom in derivative works, add the clause that guarantees it. Otherwise leave it out.
The most free CC license. The works can be used for anything, as long as the author is mentioned. It may be redistributed, modified, distributed in modified form, even under a closed license.
Appropriate for works that should get maximum visibility and utilization, in any situation.
In addition to showing attribution, the same license (CC BY-SA) must be used in derived works.
Appropriate for works which are thought to generate so useful derivations that the original author might also want to use them.
Prevents the creation of derived works. The works may only be published in their original form, including the author's name.
Appropriate especially for artistic works, which should gain visibility, but should travel only in complete and unmodified form.
Like the previous license, with the exclusion of commercial use.
Appropriate for works which should get maximum visibility, but should not be used to make a profit.
Appropriate for works which most likely will evolve through others' improvements, but which should not be used to make a profit.
Like the previous license, with the exclusion of commercial use.
Appropriate for works which should spread in unmodified form only, and without generating profit. Commercial rights are reserved for the original author.
Like the previous license, with the exclusion of commercial use.
NB! The original author may use their own works as they wish, even commercially, but even they cannot commercially use the works derived from them!
May be used for remixing in any situation.
May be used for remixing, as long as the remixed works are not commercially used.
May be used for remixing if the remixed work is published using the same CC BY-SA license.
Use in remixing is not possible, unless the work is used in its original form and as an independent part.
May be used for remixing as long as there is no commercial use, and the remixed works are licensed under the CC BY-NC-SA license.
Use in remixing is not possible, unless the work is used in its original form and as an independent part. Commercial use is not allowed.
After answering these 5 questions you've now ended up with one of 6 alternative CC licenses (or full copyright, or not publishing at all).
Remixing means the combination of one or more works into a new creative production. The term originally comes from rap music, where sound samples from other pieces are combined.
A license means limitations on use that the copyright holder grants to a group of people, typically everyone in the world.
An open license gives away some of the rights that usually would be reserved to the copyright holder by the copyright legislation. A proprietary license, on the other hand, limits the rights of use more than copyright law would.
"Commons" originally meant a common pasture land, where everyone was entitled to bring their cattle to pasture. Nowadays Commons means all commonly owned assets, such as nature, clean air, and such. Creative Commons (CC) is about commonly owning and utilizing creative works.
"Choosing an open license" by Tarmo Toikkanen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://tarmo.fi/blog/contacting/
To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
An author may grant several different licenses to different groups, as well as individual extra rights to invididual parties, possibly in exchange for a compensation.
The recipient of a copy need not accept an open license. In that case they are restricted by the normal copyright legislation, which gives them less rights than the license would.
Consider carefully whether you really need this ambiguous clause. You can protect your rights with the earlier clauses as well.
Remixing is about creating a new work based on one or more existing works. This clause prevents your works from being remixed.
Eg. the Share Alike (SA) clause makes it difficult to exploit your works commercially, without prohibiting many meaningful commercial uses.
All works can be utilized also commercially. What we mean here is the commercial use in ways that copyright law prohibits: copying, presenting, showing or distribution. For example: It's ok to use the information in a blog post commercially, but copying the blog post in commercial fashion would not be.
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