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Creative Commons for Newspapers, Scientists, Film students and Wikipedia SEOers(!?)


Four articles turned up yesterday all advocating use of different Creative Commons licenses in different contexts, nicely demonstrating the not-really-niche-anymore scope covered by Creative Commons.


In GateHouse’s case, they’ve reserved the right to commercialize, the right to preserve the content’s integrity, and the right of attribution. [Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

It’s all “part of being a good partner on the web,” says Howard Owens, GateHouse Media’s Director of Digital Publishing. After GateHouse publications kept on receiving requests from local non-profit and community groups to republish GateHouse articles in their own newsletters, he pushed to license everything under Creative Commons, effectively stripping out the cumbersome request procedure and streamlining the whole process.

There was simply no downside to licensing content under Creative Commons, adds Owens, who believes it would work just as well for a large newspaper publisher as for a small one.

The “web is a network economy,” says Owens, “Everybody online should use Creative Commons.” Sharing content through hyperlinks and other means is built into the architecture of the web. As ad dollars continue to migrate online, and content becomes more and more open, it will be difficult to facilitate the sharing content unless newspaper publishers loosen their belts and use a license like Creative Commons that clearly defines what is and isn’t allowed.

We blogged about GateHouse Media a few months ago.


Scientists do not need, and indeed should not have, exclusive (or any) control over who can copy their papers, and who can make derivative works of their papers.

The very progress of science is based on derivative works! It is absolutely essential that somebody else who attempts to reproduce your experiment be able to publish results that you don’t like if those are the results they have. Standard copyright, however, gives the copyright holders of a paper at least a plausible legal basis on which to challenge the publication of a paper that attempts to reproduce the results— clearly a derivative work!

The sort of copyright that we need is something like an “Attribution-Share Alike” Creative Commons license. We absolutely should not have, nor should journals have, any sort of exclusive right to prevent reuse of our papers. But we do need credit and citation.

Film Students (PDF):

2) The issue of auteur theory is easily solved through the use of CC licenses.
      a. As USC doesn’t believe in auteur theory, CC licenses would allow all
          students who worked on a given film the same rights towards free
3) CC licenses allow for commercial restriction while allowing for free distribution
   and the ability to allow others to freely build upon work.
      a. It can be assumed that commercial viability is of utmost concern to SCA
          (in comparison between SCA’s IP policy and that of LMU) in continuing
          to allow special agreements with SAG and local insurance companies
               i. CC licenses can specifically allow for that commercial restriction [Attribution-NonCommercial]

Wikipedia SEOers:

Don’t add photos to entries that are not Creative Commons licensed because those will get removed because of copyright infringement. Not just any Creative Commons license will do. It should allow for commercial use. [Attribution or Attribution-ShareAlike]

Apart from the CC recommendation, this last article really points to the benefits of the Wikipedia community. Normally ‘search engine optimization’ is associated with people basically attempting to scam the search engines’ anti-spam defenses, but most of the article’s tips on participating in Wikipedia are for the good — it’s hard to get any value out of Wikipedia without adding value for others, i.e., it’s hard to scam the Wikipedia community.

Posted 03 May 2007