Earlier this week, I wrote a post called "What happens when you set your content free using Creative Commons Licensing?." I explained why I set my own work free, provided some examples, and pointed to a new tool. The tool is called FairShare, a Creative Commons aware tool, that helps you track how your content is being used by others.
The tool and the ideas behind the post post generated some good discussion, great questions, and additional blog posts that I'd like to explore further.
Lucy Bernholz, on her Philanthropy 2173 Blog, wrote a post called "Foundations Set Your Content Free where she shares an interesting historical perspective of open sourcing your work. She describes several different systems and share economies. She relays a story about how Leonardo Da Vinci freely shared his art work, but closely guarded his scienctific inventions. Its from "The Science of Leonardo" by Fritjof Capra. Apparently, he gained great fame from sharing his art work, but no one knew about his scienctific genius until many years after his death.
The First Giving Blog has a post "Riffing On Creative Commons License". The post makes the analogy to empowering your supporters to fundraise on your organization's behalf.
"When it comes to raising money online, empowering your network of supporters with the tools to fundraise for your NPO is like giving them Creative Commons access to your organization."
In the comments, BethP asked a great question:
How often do you come across situations where you feel like the CC license has been abused? And how do you respond?
As I responded in the comments, I run across a lot of abuse. Well, except there was this one instance a couple years back. I tend to look at the from the perspective of a "teachable moment" or perhaps a conversation starter.
The question made think about the word "attribution" which is an important concept in the Creative Commons license.
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.
The license deed and language do not specify what that means. It's left up to the person who created the work. I haven't gone to the trouble to specify how people should give credit. I only started to think about this in the comments to this wonderful post called "The Benefits of Creative Commons Licenses" from the Spreading Science blog.
So, it brings up some quetions about defining attribution in the "By" license.
- Does it mean that it is okay to cut and paste the entire blog post as as they clearly say who wrote it?
- If someone is quoting from the blog post, how should that be done?
- Should they say "by Beth Kanter" and that's enough or should they link back to my blog or the specific post?
- Does it mean they can the RSS feed and republish my content on their site as long as it clearly notes that it was "by Beth Kanter"?
- If they use the work as a basis for creative a deritive work, how do they attribute what they contributed versus the original?
Maya Norton who writes the Blogging Jewish Philanthropy wrote a post called "To My Readers: Avoiding Plagiarism, Understanding the Creative Commons License" and made some good points about giving attribution in blog posts beyond a link.
- Put my words in quotes if you are quoting text directly
- Cite me by name, journal title, and the URL of the post (Maya Norton, The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy, www…)
- Leave me a message or send me an e-mail letting me know that you have done so– if we have the same interests, I would like to get to know you
I've never gone to the trouble of spelling out the specifics of how to attribute a post, but the point about letting the author know about is important. (Although, if they link or use my name, my listening system pretty much catches it) Right now it is interesting to watch and observe how people attribute and look for additional insights or teachable moments.
Michelle from aids.gov left a great comment in the original post letting me know how they remixed the work and use the strategy map questions to create their organization's social media strategy. This is exactly the intention and spirit of the license. Also, it is great to close the loop and have the opportunity to remix a remix.
Alan Levine, who left a thoughtful comment about the tool and who is a good at making up words (and adopting them too) came up with a new word called Linktribution. It means linking back to the original post that inspired your post or linking to the person or originally shared the link to something that you write about. Recently, Alan used the term, Twitterbution, which I assume means linking to the original tweet that includes a link.
If you're using Creative Commons license, have you specified how you want your work attributed? If so, please share.
Ari Herzog, Using Blog Photos With Creative CommonsSkelliwag, Complete Guide To Creative Commons Licensing