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Understanding Creative Commons License

Understanding Creative Commons License

The social media is full of beautiful pictures and contents. It’s also where most copyright infringements take place. For most photographers, it’s the perfect field of study for inspiration and learning and improving their techniques. However, in a lot of cases, the inspiration part is just stripped away completely, only to be replaced by the original, unclaimed photo that was already available on the internet.
Unattributed photos have been passed around for years on the Internet, especially on the more common social media sites. Sometimes, even legal publications are guilty of the deed, and in worse cases, some even claim ownership over the copied material. However, in most cases, people are genuinely unaware that copyright laws apply offline and online, both.
Almost anything published on the Internet receives automatic copyright — whether they sport the copyright symbol or not. Exceptions include non-recorded and non-written works (e.g. improvisational speeches or performances), titles, slogans, ideas / concepts, and content used from public documents.
However, there are certain people who are always interested in having their works reused or remixed for further betterment of it, or just sharing free-culture contents. For such artists, photographers, musicians, basically anyone who wants to release anything online and have their material copyrighted, for such people the best place to start would Creative Commons – A website that provides a set of six licenses for creators interested in encouraging the reusability of their work. The following explains a basic of the licenses available for use:
Attribution (CC BY) – “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.”
Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) – “This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.”
Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND) – “This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.”
Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) – “This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.”
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) – “This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) – “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.”
Bonus license: CCO – “CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”
Ultimately, it goes to show that anything and everything you may find online will always have someone who created the content in the first place, and if by reusing or sharing their works without proper accreditation may just leave you being sued for copyright infringement.
For further reading, check out CENDRINE MARROUAT’S blog at:



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