Using Creative Commons

As Roni Loren points out in her post about the dangers of using someone elses media without a proper understanding of it’s licensing and or attribution criteria, you quickly leave yourself open to legal action and I’m sure a sense of shame. Because of this, Creative Commons proves to be an incredible tool for bloggers looking to use different forms of media that they have not themselves created. It’s important to keep in mind that photos, music and writing do not just appear out of thin air. Someone took the time to frame those shots, set up the lighting and create all the little details that eye catching photo entails. When you find that picture you want or that song you just have to have because it embodies everything you’re trying to express, it’s only fair that you give credit where credit is due! The fact that people go through all this trouble to produce something amazing and turn right around with a willingness to share and allow it to be distributed is a testament to the good nature of our fellow humans and should never be taken advantage of. Creative Commons gives them the perfect way to give you permission without having to go through the long and sometimes migraine-filled process of seeking permission that used to be the norm. The simple and easy to understand criteria that Creative Commons work use, provides us with a singular system in an near fool-proof manner. Through the use of Creative Commons material, you, the author, can avoid the risk of being sued, continue to share amazing works of art, and feel good that you’ve given attribution to those that made it all possible. The use of Creative Commons is also fantastic for the contributor. So you spent all day, in the cold, lining up a shot and waiting for the sun to be at just the right angle for that once in a lifetime photo that you just needed to have. You get home, dump it on the internet and wait for the compliments to start pouring in. A few weeks later, as you’ve gained followers on your Flickr account, a friend informs you that they’ve seen your picture somewhere else AND IT DIDN’T GIVE YOU CREDIT. What a devastating feeling that must be. Someone else, even if it’s unintentional, is now getting the credit for your sweat and tears! Creative Commons give you solid ground to stand on for issuing cease and desist type orders; a way to protect yourself! Another great benefit is the exposure that one can receive for sharing their work. Just imagine that same image being used in so many amazing places, and it’s got your name tagged underneath! The traffic and notoriety that can generate can be priceless for you and your blog or career. I think the most important reason to use Creative Commons, aside from the somewhat selfish idea of being sued for not doing the right thing, is that you are promoting people to keep things shared, and continue contributing these wonderful things for the whole world to enjoy! The content that is shared by Creative Commons license, allows for the majority of internet connected peoples to be party to amazing things that may never have been dreamt up, or presented in the way they finally were, without that push from something that inspired them and that they were given the opportunity to use themselves. For instance, my blog would be just a bleh place of bland text and a boring white background if it were not for the fantastic people on Flickr who decide that they are willing to share with me the fruits of their labor. I thank them for allowing me to spice up my work and provide that visual appeal to go along with my typewritten ideas.

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