If you look on the right-hand column you’ll see a new logo on my blog. Under the heading of “Share Alike” is a description of the basis I share my work and the conditions I place on others using it.
There are a variety of choices for an author to assert their moral rights over their work: traditional copyright, copyleft, and creative commons (and possibly more). I’ve chosen the latter because of the specificity with which I can define how I want to share. In choosing Creative Commons I am not actually giving up my rights, but letting people know the ways the conditions I’m happy with re-use.
An international creative commons licence has been available for several years and many countries are adapting the licences to suit their particular jurisdiction. The Aotearoa New Zealand licences were made available just a month ago (see Aotearoa Creative Commons). These have been prepared by the Te Wh?inga Aronui The Council for the Humanities.
Anyone is free to use my work provided you:
- acknowledge me
- share any resulting work on the same basis as I share
- use only for non-profit purposes.
The official way of putting this is: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike.
To get a licence for your work visit go to Creative Commons Licence you work Aotearoa New Zealand page.
The licences are typically used to licence creative works (eg music, photography, graphics), and I haven’t quite figured out how they relate to reportage, commentary and writing. And of course, on the Internet it is impossible to monitor how material is re-used, so unless re-use is high profile it would be possible people wouldn’t know if their licence is breached. Creative Commons does not provide a mechanism for policing licences or redress when licences are breached. There is plenty of room for debate about the use and enforcement of licences.
I think the licences are relevant to community groups, who work in an environment where sharing knowledge and creativity a norm to be encouraged, but only where the effort and intellectual property should be rightly acknowledged. I’m not aware of any groups that have adopted a licence, but I’ll keep my eye open for groups that take this step.
Maybe we could create a Aotearoa Creative Commons not-for-profit space, a bit like a virtual bring and buy.
Update (6 December 2007): here’s a link to a post by Beth Kanter on “Best Practices Using Creative Commons Licence”. To quote her, the following “…post titled “To My Readers: Avoiding Plagiarism, Understanding the Creative Commons License” made some great points about giving attribution in blog posts beyond a link.” Using what is essentially an academic referencing approach is bit long-winded and I think a brief citation is sufficient (ie referring to an author and blog name is sufficient without full dates, title, etc).