Creative Commons:
Why worry about copyright?


What's the point?

How to licence your content

How to use Creative Commons content

What determines 'commercial use'?

What does 'sharealike' mean?

What kind of content is available?

Why worry about copyright in the first palce?

Sources of Creative Commons-licenced content

The final word

It is likely that everyone has played fast and loose with copyright at some point in their creative lives, one way or another.

In reality, most copyright violations occur because of time and budget pressures. It often takes too long and costs too much to obtain the necessary permissions, so people skate close to the edge by 'borrowing' content. The trouble is, even if an image has been manipulated to remove obvious identifying marks, it is still based on someone else's work.

Some feel that a certain level of this is to be expected, and even considered acceptable, but this view is almost always rather one-sided. Try putting the shoe on the other foot: how would you feel if someone ripped off something that you'd created, presenting it as their own work with no attribution or aknowledgement whatsoever? Always remember the maxim that what goes around comes around. (And when it does, read this excellent article on dealing with copyright theft to find out how to take the correct steps.)

Obviously, regular commercial media libraries and archives have their place, as such systems generally guarantee a high level of quality. But when you can't afford to splash out on a commercial stock shot, your royalty-free image collections aren't inspiring you, and you don't have the time to track down and apply for usage permission, the Creative Commons concept comes into its own. It can make finding food for your creative hunger much easier, and it can also save you from messy legal disputes.

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