Have you ever tried to put together your own media online? Perhaps you’re writing blog posts as I am here or maybe you’ve jumped onto YouTube to make a variety of videos. With nearly everything you do and do seriously concerning media and the internet though you’re going to need some form of images, art, or footage at some point. However, with the standard copyright laws you cannot just take other peoples images, use them, and commercialize them. Many people misuse the fair use laws thinking that just because they’re trying to teach a lesson that necessarily guarantees fair use. Now I’m no lawyer here, but they make it pretty clear that under pretty much all circumstances fair use does not apply to content you are trying to monetize and yes that includes YouTube Adsense. Frankly, if I had it my way everyone in the world would just be cool with others using some of their content in their own creations especially if they gave credit back to the original author.
That’s Where Creative Commons Comes In
The creative commons licensing gives artists of all kinds a way to license their material out to the general public so that others may use it in their own work. Of course there are different levels of it ranging from requiring a simple attribution to non-commercial works published under the same license with attribution to the original author only. Personally I like the attribution one both in terms of searching for reusable content and for publishing my own work. You’ll notice at the bottom of this blog that it says that it’s licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. That means that if you’d like to take my content and use it elsewhere that the only thing I ask is that it would be nice if you gave me credit or even better, a link back, for my efforts. And no of course I wouldn’t come with lawyers if you didn’t. Without Creative Commons and similar licenses like royalty free or public domain, every YouTube creator would need to be their own artist and their own musician if they ever wanted more than just themselves talking into a camera. A lot of elements go into the production of YouTube videos but also many blogs as well. Mine might be primarily text up to this point but images inside blog posts are a really big deal that many use to enhance their content. Creative commons frees up creators to focus on the aspects of their work that they actually love and enjoy while saving time on other important aspects like the background image, certain video clips, or even parts of blog posts. Heck – it would be an honor to be quoted on what I said here ~ I’d love to see what you’ve used it in just so I may revel in it. I believe that copyright is unnecessary and that regardless of if people use some of your ideas or work, it won’t harm you in the end. Rather it would surprise me if it helps get your name out in one way or another. If you think that’s dead wrong, just have a look at Steven Pavlina’s blog where he has gone a step further and uncopyrighted all his work. Do you believe that copyright is necessary to protect company profits or rather do you believe that the recognition will come to those who create excellently regardless of if others spread it around or build upon it? Perhaps the true answer lies somewhere in the middle as well.
Examples of Creative Commons in Action
- Flickr: Creative Commons
Flickr has an outstanding selection of user uploaded Creative Commons photos and artwork. It’s a premier source for finding work to use even for commercialized purposes.
- 19 Most Recent Pieces: incompetech.com
An awesome place to find creative commons music with easy attribution. People use Kevin Macleod’s work in all kinds of YouTube videos. Check it out to see an example of how cool creative commons can be.
- Creative Commons art in DA
DeviantArt is an art site and they have a community dedicated to sharing art under the Creative Commons license. This could be a great place to find artwork to use in blogs, videos, or websites.
- Creative Commons Video Animations
You might not know it, but big video sites like YouTube and Vimeo have a search function for finding creative commons works. You can search on Vimeo to find animations that people have marked as creative commons. Free background footage anyone?