May 26, 2012, 7:50 AM — Your business revolves around producing creative works, and you use the Internet to market those works. Considering how quickly and easily such material can be disseminated around the world without your knowledge or permission, how do you go about protecting your rights to those works? A Creative Commons license might be the most realistic solution.
Although international law holds that a traditional copyright is automatically granted the moment you produce a creative work, such a restrictive right is difficult to enforce in the real world, and it doesn't provide artists with as many tangible benefits as you might think.
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Creative Commons licenses protect your works in a manner that helps you reach a much larger audience much faster than you would under the conventional “all rights reserved” approach.
Here's a brief overview of how Creative Commons works, and how it differs from traditional copyright.
What Is Creative Commons Licensing?
It's a common misconception that the philosophy of Creative Commons licensing is somehow opposed to copyright; in reality, Creative Commons depends on that precedent as its starting point.
“Creative Commons licenses provide an easy way to manage the copyright terms that attach automatically to all creative works under copyright,” explains the Creative Commons organization that created them. “Our licenses allow those works to be shared and re-used under terms that are flexible and legally sound.”
The group, which dates back to 2001, aims to offer more flexible alternatives to the traditional “all rights reserved” scenario created by copyright law. Specifically, six different Creative Commons licenses “give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work,” the group explains.
Each Creative Commons license, then, allows the content owner to relax control over very narrowly specified parts of the traditional “all rights reserved” copyright so as to promote certain types of sharing.