Pictures, graphics, and videos have the ability to make or break a blog post. Let’s be honest, posts with a lot of text and no graphics can come across as, well, boring. So what do you do when you need something to spice up an ordinary post, but don’t have your own graphics or pictures to use? That’s where Creative Commons can step in and help.
What is Creative Commons?
The condensed version: Creative Commons is a spinoff of the standard copyright. Instead of the all-encompassing “all rights reserved” mantra of copyright law, Creative Commons approaches protection as a “some rights reserved”. This allows individuals and businesses to determine which rights they feel are appropriate for their original works, and how much they want to share and let others build on. Instead of the © denoting a copyright, Creative Commons utilizes a (CC).
How do you use it?
With Creative Commons, there are certain licenses in effect, per the author of the works’ specifications. On the Creative Commons website you can find a list of the different licenses used, and what each means. If you are subjecting your works’ to a Creative Commons license, you have the ability to combine the different types to fit what works best for you. There are six different licenses varying in intensity.
The least restrictive is the “Attribution” license, and according to the Creative Commons website, “this license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials”.
At the other end of the spectrum is the “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs” license, which is defined by Creative Commons as, “this license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially”.
Being mindful of the licenses in play, you can find works that you can use to help amp up an otherwise ordinary blog post, and also works that you can tweak to fit exactly what you need. With so many people infringing on copyright law all the time from dropping graphics and photographs from places like Google images into their blog posts and websites, this is a good way to bypass potentially infringing on someone else’s works.
What if I want to enforce Creative Commons?
The beauty of Creative Commons is that anyone can use it. If you have helpful blog posts that you don’t mind others linking to, sharing, or even expanding upon, go to Creative Commons and fill out a license form. Since it isn’t one-size-fits-all, you’ll be able to tailor the license to your needs. Post your Creative Commons license on your website and be sure to direct your readers to it so that they know what they can pull from your website and what they can’t.
According to the Creative Commons mission, the goal of Creative Commons is, “nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity”.
So if you’re looking for a way to utilize media within your space on the internet without infringing on anyone’s rights, or for a way to share your own intellectual property, Creative Commons is the way to go. By working together we can continually help each other and grow, both as individuals and as a whole.