With so many people already interested in providing and using open resources it is important I think that there is some type of organization to the movement. The non-profit group Creative Commons (CC) provides some leadership in this area, particularly in licensing of these resources. The CC website proclaims that the group is “dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”
While these various license types (there are more – these are just the “main” ones) seem to cover a lot of ground, there are still some areas left for interpretation. What kinds of materials can or should be licensed this way? CC recommends other options, such as Open Source Initiative, for open software licensing considerations.
Several other blogs have addressed the question of “how should I license my own original work?” The CC licenses provide some key issues to consider:
1) Commercial v. non-commercial – should others be allowed to offer the material for a fee?
2) Share alike – should others be required to make their versions and revisions of the original work available for yet others to revise?
3) Derivatives – should the original work be considered only as-is, as a whole, without changes or can the original work be modified or used in part?
Below is a summary of the primary types of licenses CC addresses. These get more restrictive as you move down the list.
This license type allows anyone to use your work in whole or in part as long as you are given credit in a way you specify. This material can be modified as well, as long as credit to the original author/creator is given. Commercial redistribution is okay.
Attribution – Share Alike (CC- BY, SA)
A little more restrictive, this license type has the same requirements as CC-BY, but adds the requirement that the new version of the work also be licensed this way, so that others may continue to use and share the material. Commercial redistribution is okay here, too.
Attribution – No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
This license type requires that the original be work be passed along in its original, complete form, with credit given to the original author/contributor. No modifications can be made. Commercial redistribution is still allowed.
Attribution – Non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)
This license prohibits commercial redistribution, allows for the original work to be modified or used in part, and requires the original author/contributor be acknowledged.
Attribution – Non-commercial, Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)
Like CC-BY-NC, this license does not allow commercial versions be created. The original work can be modified and used in part. The original author/contributor must be given credit, and the resulting work must also be available under the same license, so that others may continue to use and share the material.
Attribution – Non-commercial, No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Original works with this type of licensing can be redistributed, non-commercially, in their complete and original form, with credit given to the author. No modifications can be made.
image credit: jorgeandresem, Flickr