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CC Licenses Make Sense for Gatehouse Media Sites


As Lisa Williams noted her local paper – Watertown TAB – quietly switched over the site to use a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 2.5 license. Dave Weinberger noted that his local paper – the Brookline TAB – did likewise. The reason — GateHouse Media, a newspaper conglomerate that owns 75 daily and 231 weekly newspapers, has applied Creative Commons licenses to the company’s TownOnline sites.

Howard Owens, the director for digital publishing for Gatehouse, explained on the Watertown blog that the decision to opt for a CC license was not a big step for a mainstream media publisher such as Gatehouse because:

“It’s really not a big change from how a lot of newspaper sites handle content — free non-commercial use, but generally only if you ask. This removes the middle man of asking, because now it’s explicitly stated that free non-commercial use is permitted. It’s also way to draw attention to: feel free to redistribute our content in non-commercial ways, please just be sure to link back to the originating site.”

Removing the middleman?? Hmm, sounds similar to something we might say about skipping intermediaries.

Owens continued to to explain more about the move on his own blog and address some of the issues and concerns publishers may have.

There have been other newspapers outside of the US who have adopted CC licensing for parts of their publications. In Italy in July 2006, one of the leading Italian newspapers – La Stampa released its two cultural supplements, TuttoScienze (science) and TuttoLibri (books) under a CC license. In Colombia, the main Colombian paper El Tiempo included a CC license option for its citizen journalism section. And in Portugal, the launch of the CC Portugal licenses was celebrated with the release by one of the largest and most prestigious daily newspapers in Portugal, Público, of articles under a CC license both online and in the paper edition.

Posted 02 January 2007