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What is Creative Commons?


The basic terms of copyright haven’t changed in decades.

In today’s digitally enhanced landscape, traditional copyright has proven to be inflexible for some creatives that have suffered because of a lack of understanding regarding the use, or invariably misuse, of digital material.

In an attempt to offer a more flexible approach to copyright, Creative Commons was born in 2001. Its basic aim is to offer anyone the ability to assign some distribution rights to a copyrighted work. The Creative Commons [ license] platform is based on the established Open Publication License and the GNU Free Documentation Licence that have become commonplace within the open source software community. Offering the ability to assign some rights for the public use of a copyrighted work but retaining others has proven to be highly effective on the internet where the blanket regulations governing traditional copyright have, in some instances, stifled the creative flow.

For many creative individuals, the Creative Commons approach seems to offer a copyright platform that enables them to retain the core of their work as fully copyrighted material, but simultaneously allowing users more free access to use, and more importantly, redistribute content that they would otherwise have to gain fully copyright clearance for. For web design professionals, Creative Commons needs to be approached from two very different routes. On the one hand, you can make available to the wider web-based community of creatives and also end consumers your work with some restrictions, but as a designer you must also be conscious of the material that you use within your own designs that may have a Creative Commons licence attached. It’s important that you are aware of the array of licences that Creative Commons offers to ensure your designs are legal in every respect.