How to Protect Your Work With Creative Commons Licenses

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If you have a website or blog, you need to protect your online work from plagiarism. One of the most effective ways of protecting your work is to copyright it using Creative Commons licenses. You can use these licenses to decide whether or not others can copy, display, distribute, adapt or make commercial use of your work.

Before applying for a Creative Commons license

You need to consider four major issues before you apply for a Creative Commons license for your online content:

1. Is your work copyrightable?

Creative Commons licenses apply to works that are protected by copyright such as websites, blogs, e-books, images, podcasts, videos, and video games. However, these licenses do not protect ideas, factual information or other non-creative elements underlying the creative expression of your work.

2. Do you have exclusive rights?

Make sure you have the authority to apply for a Creative Commons license. You are free to apply for a license if you are the sole creator of the work. However, if are employed, your employer may own the rights to the work. Also make sure that you own the rights to all elements of the work that you license under a Creative Commons license.

3. Have you decided exactly what you are licensing?

Specify what you are licensing and identify the format of the work (text, image, audio or video). Also specify the different elements of the work that you wish to license. For example, if you wish to license your articles, specify whether you are licensing the text as well as the visual images in your articles.

4. What if you change your mind and want to revoke the license?

You can stop offering your work under a Creative Commons license at any time. However, these licenses are non-revocable. Therefore, you cannot stop anyone who has already obtained your work under a Creative Commons license from using the work according to that license. So think carefully before applying for a Creative Commons license.

How to copyright your work under a Creative Commons license

To apply for a Creative Commonslicense for your work, you must fill the application form at www.creativecommons.org/choose/.

You can decide how to license your work by selecting the options below:

1. Allow commercial uses of your work?

  • “Yes”
  • “No”

Allow modifications of your work?

  • “Yes”
  • “Yes, as      long as others share alike”
  • “No”

Jurisdiction of your license

  • “International”
  • “Name of country”

Additional information

The additional fields tell prospective users how to attribute your work and how to contact you for more information. These fields are optional but will be embedded in the HTML code generated for your license.

Format of your work

  • Other
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Image
  • Text
  • Dataset
  • Interactive

Title of work

Enter the title of your content that you want to license, for example, “How to Protect Your Work With Creative Commons Licenses.”

Attribute work to name

Give the name of the licensor, for example, “Happywriter.”

Attribute work to URL

Enter the URL of your blog or website which you want to be attributed, for example, “myblog.com.”

Source work URL

Enter the URL of the original site where your work is displayed, for example, “constant-content.com.”

More permissions URL

Enter the URL of the site where users can contact you for permission to use your work beyond the scope of the present license, for example, “mywebsite.com.”

Finally, click on the “Select a license” button, which will take you to a new page.

In this next page, you can choose the following options:

Choose which style of button you’d like on your webpage:

For example,  
 

or

Preview

You can also see a preview of how your license will appear on your site, depending on the options you chose in the application form:

For example,

cc1“How to Protect Your Work With Creative Commons Licenses” by “Happywriter” (with a link to “myblog.com”) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at “constant-content.com.”

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at “mywebsite.com.”

Paste the HTML code of the license into your website

Copy the HTML code provided by Creative Commons in the box and paste it in your website. (Select “HTML code view” and paste the code before </body></html>.) This will display the license for your content to the visitors of your website.

Six Types of Creative Commons Licenses

Your content will be protected by one of these six types of Creative Commons licenses, based on your choices in the application form:

Type of Creative Commons License Creative Commons Button Commercial Use Allowed Modification Allowed Requirement
Attribution  cc1 Yes Yes Credit the image as specified   by the licensor.
AttributionShareAlike  cc2 Yes Yes Credit the image as specified by the licensor. If you modify the image in any way, you must share it under a ShareAlike license.
Attribution No Derivatives   Yes No Credit the image as specified by the licensor.
Attribution Non-Commercial   No Yes Credit the image as specified by the licensor. If you modify the image in any way, you must share it under a Non-Commercial license.
Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike   No Yes Credit the image as specified by the licensor. If you modify the image in any way, you must share it under a Non-Commercial Share Alike license.
Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives   No No Credit the image as specified by the licensor.

Finally, all Creative Commons licenses are non-exclusive. So you can permit public use of your work under a Creative Commons license and still enter into a separate non-exclusive agreement with anyone else to sell or license your work.

References:
www.creativecommons.org
www.wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ
www.wiki.creativecommons.org/Before_Licensing
www.creativecommons.org/choose/ (application form)
www.wiki.creativecommons.org/Website/Publish  (tutorial)
www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
www.creativecommons.org/about/downloads/  (logo, buttons, icons, and physical media)


Rohi Shetty is a medical doctor, Vipassana meditator, writer, editor, translator and blogger. His short stories and articles have been published online and in print.

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