Thursday, February 17, 2011
During this month's Bumble Town Chat, we discussed various administrative blogging tasks that participating chatters had questions about. Everyone has something that they keep meaning to get to and usually don't because they don't know how. One task that I had for our blog was to get to the bottom of this Creative Commons business.
I am a big proponent of giving credit where credit is due. Using quotes. Attribution. I don't want to block someone who wants to re-post something I have written or photographed, as long as my name is attached to it. I want people to be able to see what I have created but also to know that I created it. Just because it is on the internet does not mean it is free for the stealing. The problem is that you can't do anything really to block your work from being illegally used by someone else. You have legal recourse if they do so inappropriately, but that process can be daunting.
What I have found however, is that the majority of violators are doing so without malice. They don't realize the rules so to speak. Which is where Creative Commons comes in for me. Creative Commons (CC) helps visitors, readers or users of your blog, site or printed works understand the parameters of common usage rights you are granting to them. It has been my experience that if I come across an image that I want to use, and I see guidelines on the originating site, I am more apt to follow them. If there aren't guidelines easily found, I don't make a lot of effort to create them.
I went to CC's website and after reading through some of their FAQ's decided to try their "simple license chooser." You answer 3 basic questions and there are pop up informational balloons to clarify further. Then you fill in your direct details such as a description of your works, your name, your blog address and a link to any existing disclosure page you might have. The CC site then converts these details into the guidelines you see in the new guideline statement we just posted below to the right on our sidebar. CC provides you with the HTML code to insert into your site wherever you like. It does not capture your information for their records or store it anywhere.
So now I have some guidelines here on our blog with the hopes that anyone wishing to replicate our stuff without modification will do so on a personal level only and credit us directly. Plus, they are an added tool to assist in the legal fight if some jerk ignores them and steals our stuff anyway.
So - don't be that guy. When you find something belonging to someone else that you like, look around for those handy CC guidelines and follow them. If they don't have guidelines, ask permission. Always credit back the original source directly. And create your own CC guidelines to make life easier for yourself and everyone else.