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Creative Commons - an overview

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Embedding, downloading, and linking to internet resources can be problematic, particularly when the resources are hosted in a password protected environment. This overview and links summarise the concept of Creative Commons licensing and the range of Creative Commons licences.

Copyright violation is a crime. Under copyright an author has the legal exclusive right to control the copying of their material and intellectual property. If you are interested in finding out more about Intellectual Property as a concept, James Boyle's entertaining eBook "The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind", could be a good place to start. The About page advises that "intellectual property rights mark out the ground rules of the information society, and today’s policies are unbalanced, unsupported by evidence, and often detrimental to cultural access, free speech, digital creativity, and scientific innovation". The eBook is free, online and you can leave comments as you read if you so wish - you can download the book as a pdf (1.6Mb) and you can buy a paper copy if you like the book. (The eBook is licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.)


The fact that material is posted to the Internet does not automatically put it in the public domain. On the Internet, however, intellectual property can be shared and used through Creative Commons, a non-profit corporation enabling people to publish their work digitally, share and build upon the work of others consistent with the rules of copyright. The aim is to establish a fair middle way between the extremes of copyright control and the uncontrolled uses of intellectual property.

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Creative Commons copyright licences

Creative Commons provides a range of copyright licences, freely available to the public, which allow those creating intellectual property – including authors, artists, educators and scientists – to mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You may be interested in finding out about the concept of 'freedom' when it refers to 'free' content. This tutorial from WikiEducator is short, clear, and easy to follow, or if you would like a little more depth, especially around why you would not want to use the "non-commercial use only" license, please read this article.

All Creative Commons categories require attribution. A clear explanation of the different licence categories can be found at http://www.creativecommons.org.nz/licences_explained__1. You can also work your way through this short tutorial from WikiEducator by clicking HERE.

License your own work as Creative Commons

If you wish to license your own work as Creative Commons, creativecommons.org have a page where you can choose a license, and then grab the code to embed in your site and/or resources. Many other sites such as Flickr, Bliptv, Archive.org and Scribd enable you to choose a Creative Commons license at the time you upload your resources.

Creative Commons Licence
Creative Commons by Ethos Consultancy NZ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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