Sunday, February 8, 2009

Creative Commons

Regardless of whether or not you agree or disagree with the new US president's policies, President Obama has taken a different stance on technology. He is trying to use Web 2.0 tools to his advantage in communicating and collecting information from the American people. Perhaps only time will tell how genuinely transparent and open his government is. Regardless of whether it is a facade or not, the tools he is employing reflect changes in society.

One of the most telling examples of the changes technology has brought can be seen in the idea of citizen reporting. Cell phone videos, random pictures submitted to news sites, and twitter feeds have given instant information on a number of recent incidents. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai and recent emergency landing on the Hudson River by an airplane serve as vivid examples. CNN has sought to embrace this and they have edited their website to make it easier for individuals to submit newsworthy items. Anyone can become a reporter or a photographer. Everyone potentially has an audience and access. Technology has enabled someone that may have never had a voice in the past to be able to reach millions via the internet.

With many publications, you see items regarding copyright, like all rights reserved. With Creative Commons, it allows a creator to share their work with only some rights reserved. Typically, attribution and credit should be given. However, it lets others use it. Whether it be music, writings, photos, etc., it is contributed to the "commons" for the world.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization. It states the following on its website:
Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that works to increase the amount of content (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons" — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, re-purposing, and remixing. Creative Commons does this by providing free, easy-to-use legal and technical tools that give everyone a simple, standardized way to pre-clear copyrights to their creative work. CC licenses let people easily change their copyright terms from the default, restrictive "all rights reserved" to a more flexible "some rights reserved."
Whether you are looking for some different background music or a photo to spice up a presentation, check out Creative Commons. I use Firefox and in that browser there is a convenient search for CC in the toolbar. Just click on the default G (for Google on top right of your browser) and a drop down will appear and select CC. By using a general CC search, everything is included but many sites like Flicker will allow the advanced search features in a service to filter out only CC images.

People do some really creative things. Check out what is available on creative commons...

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