Why I Support the Creative Commons

The Creative Commons idea has been around for a while, but it seems very few people have adopted its use. I have been a supporter of this approach to sharing information on the web for several years - the "intellectual property" monopoly is simply a way to keep information sequestered in a capitalist legal structure, restricting the free flow of information from those who can use it and benefit from it.

As a writer and researcher, I often come up against articles that are behind a pay-wall - and the asking price is often in the range of $30 per article (or more). The sinister thing is that authors in these journals also pay to have their articles published - and the cost to them goes WAY up if they choose an open access journal.

Being the owner/publisher of an academic journal is a very profitable business.

Even in the mainstream internet publications, however, information is (mostly) free on the site where it is originally posted, but sharing that information with others, with full attribution and links to the original site and post, is still a pay-per-use system.

The argument against a Creative Commons approach for these folks usually revolves around the short-term loss of "visits," the way they count user traffic to generate advertiser dollars - the more visits, the more they can charge for ad space on the site. What they neglect, it seems to me, is the long-term benefit of exposure to readers who might not otherwise view the material or the site, who are introduced to the author, idea, or site through it being shared on another venue.

But it seems most of the major online magazines (and magazine-like sites) don't take this longer perspective and only worry about the visits they might not get today. I hope that this will change - it is a policy based in 20th century content presentation that cannot fathom the 21st century changes in that system.

Here is the summary statement of the Creative Commons organization, explaining their values and mission.

Our vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

Why CC?

The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. That someone is Creative Commons.

Our mission

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

What we provide

The infrastructure we provide consists of a set of copyright licenses and tools that create a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.
Our tools 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 — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright — which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the internet. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solidglobally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs.
If you’d like to see what kinds of companies and organizations are using Creative Commons licenses to realize the full potential of the Internet, visit our Who Uses CC? page.
For those creators wishing to opt out of copyright altogether, and to maximize the interoperability of data, Creative Commons provides tools that allow work to be placed as squarely as possible in the public domain.

Where we’re going

We build infrastructure at Creative Commons. Our users build the commons itself. We are working to increase the adoption of our tools, to support and listen to our users, and to serve as a trusted steward of interoperable commons infrastructure.

Your support

In order to achieve the vision of an Internet full of open content, where users are participants in innovative culture, education, and science, we depend on the backing of our users and those who believe in the potential of the Internet. We are alive and thriving thanks to the generous support of people like you. Spread the word about CC to your friends and family, and donate to help maintain Creative Commons as a robust, long-lived, and stable organization.
Creative Commons is a Massachusetts-chartered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable corporation. For more information, see the corporate charterby-laws, most recent tax return and most recent audited financial statement.
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