Common Man's Copyright: Creative Commons

We, the common people, writers of the Internet, and mostly unpublished, look ardently at those great top authors of best-sellers, and just drool when we see their copyright notices. Copyright © Stephen King 2008, all rights reserved! Wow, we think, when do we actually see such a page in action with our name in it?

In the meanwhile, there is another question looming in the horizon, particularly for the people like us, who publish online profusely, but most of the time get our content stolen, taken up by amateurs, who just happen to view the power and reach of the professional content, and just copy and use it in their websites (I regard intellectual property theft or plagiarism as more severe and despicable than murder). We have to protect our hard work (by copyrighting); we have to find some ways to get it copyrighted, so we can claim our work as our own whenever we want. How?

Well, that’s actually pretty easy. You should know that copyright is a natural attribute that exists as soon as you put any original creation of you down on a tangible medium (such as paper, CD-ROM, online magazine, etc). But, to register copyright, you have to follow certain steps. You should visit the copyright website, upload your file, and register your copyright at a fee. This is often difficult for the new writers who just publish online; we don’t have money to purchase copyright for all content we own, though we own it anyway, and the copyright registration is just a step to ensure it.

We, creative common people, have a new license absolutely free, Creative Commons! It’s an organization (nonprofit, Creativecommons.org) that promotes Creative Commons license. Creative Commons was Officially launched in 2001, by Lawrence Lessig. It's symbol is two c's in a circle, while one c represents copyright.

Virtually any publication can be protected by Creative Commons. There should not, however, be any conflict with its counterpart, copyright. If you are licensing your work in Creative Commons, you should be the owner of the work, or you should have the full copyright of the work.

What Creative Commons license actually does is allow you to apply “some rights” to the work you have copyrighted. These rights can include copying content and placing it in other websites without making changes, with minor changes, or with complete remodeling. You can even allow your work to be distributed free of charge, or at a profit. It’s all up to you to decide here. A range of licenses is available for you to restrict rights on your content.

You can use Creative Commons mainly to license your creative contents on the web. (You can find my Creative Commons license in this blog. This is an RDF/XML data from Creativecommons.org.) The procedure to follow is roughly so: you go to the Creative Commons website, choose the particular license you wish to use, study its attributes, choose the one that most suits you, and then you will be presented with a minor widget code, which you will post anywhere on your website. Done! The license will be displayed in a dark grey widget with Creative Commons logo ((cc)).

Now onwards, you can retain the rights on your content, and give some rights for the requesting people. For more information on Creative Commons license, please pay a visit to these sites.

1. Creative Commons Official Website

3. The Copyright Office

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

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