Understanding Creative Commons Licenses

A few years ago, I wrote a novel. It’s not a good novel, but I decided to share it with the world anyway.  To protect it from poachers, I went to Creative Commons and licensed the work.  Doing so is very easy–a form walks you through the steps.

I really didn’t care if they distributed my work. I didn’t write the novel for profit, but to share it with other people. I wanted to get credit for the work and I did not want anyone else to profit monetarily from it. Creative Commons was the best copyright option I could think of – and still is.

The Big Idea Behind The Licenses

From the Creative Commons website:

“The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.”

Six License Types

There are currently six license types from which you can choose.













Other Reading

The “open source” licensing approach is currently in version 3.0–having seen its last revision in 2007. Version 4.0 is expected in late 2012.

There is a very helpful FAQ that can be found here, and a wiki here.