I believe in setting my content free. It provides a huge return on investment. Here's why:
- A way to crowd source ideas. People can add and embellish your content and if you have access to the remix, it can give you new ideas
- It creates a gift economy and that help you build your network
- It gets your work out there. My photos and blog posts have traveled around the world!
Among other reasons, that's why I've been a fan and evangelist for Creative Commons for many years. I've even taught my children about creative commons (check out Harry's screencast - What A Second Grader Knows About Creative Commons that earned him a feature story in the School Library Association Journal)
All of this assumes that people really bother to look at the license, understand it, and respect the rules. I still sometimes see rather blank expressions when I ask about turning to CC licensed resources to find photos. It turns to surprise when they see what is there and it free for the using. Or, I get gasps of horror from some colleagues who more concerned about how to "lock up" their content with "all rights" reserved and hire IP lawyers to help them police and protect their work so no one "steals it."
I've always wondered whether or not when someone makes a gazillion dollars on one of my photos or my blog posts, will I be sorry? No, but is more likely to happen is that people will use the work, use the license honestly, and improve the work. Or, it might open the door for a teachable moment about Creative Commons and the share economy.
Here's a few (good) examples of how I have remixed other people's work or other people have remixed my work.
1. Remix This Powerpoint. The powerpoint slides came from a webinar I did a couple years ago for University Extension professionals. The title was "Ten Steps to Extension 2.0." The presentation itself is a remix of a remix. I remixed it from an earlier presentation called Associations 2.0 which was based on Marnie Webb's Ten Ways To Use Web 2.0 to Change The World. It also incorporates cc licensed materials from others, including videos and flickr photos.
The cover is from a remix mashup that Mike Seyfang and I did a couple years back from a conversation about the least restrictive creative commons licensed. That photo is one of my most viewed flickr photos and resulted in a number of inquiries for work.
2. How Much Time Does It Take To Do Social Media? This was a blog post that I wrote remixing an earlier blog post with the same title from Nina Simon as part of thinking through some of the material for the WeAreMedia project, another open content project. The illustration is a powerpoint slide that I shared on slideshare. It's been remixed with and without attribution. Many do not add more improvements on the idea itself, but rather just cut and paste. A number of folks have sent back thanks for saving them some time in prepping a presentation.
There was a brilliant example of remix from Morgan Sully who took the idea and remixed it for electronic musicians. Creating a remix that goes beyond cut and paste, takes some time, creativity and higher thinking skills!
3. Social Media Game In 2007, David Wilcox and I presented a workshop at LASA using this game he created. I've created a wiki for other people to remix it and it has traveled around the world. We used it for the WeAreMedia workshop and one of the participants, Aids.Gov, remixed a version to train their staff. I created a version to teach folks about creative commons licensing.
4. Remixing David Armano's Listen, Learn, and Adapt: I was really inspired by a paper that David Armano wrote for a business audience called Listen, Learn, and Adapt. I remixed it for nonprofits. Nancy White picked up on it and blogged it. Through my remix of the material, I've introduced David's original article to an audience of nonprofits.
When I remix someone else's work, I go to great lengths to give it proper attribution. But, I never know if people who have remixed my work have done so in return. Now there is an easy way to track it.
Attributor Corporation and Creative Commons have just launched FairShare which is now in public beta.
The press release describes it as:
A free service allowing bloggers and individual content creators to understand how their work is shared across the Web. FairShare allows anyone creating text content to submit an RSS feed of their work and choose a Creative Commons license to determine how it can be shared. Users then receive license-specific results via RSS with detailed insights into how and where their work is reused.
The FairShare service enters public beta supporting six Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that promotes the creative reuse of intellectual and artistic works, whether owned or in the public domain. The FairShare service will be integrated with the Creative Commons license selection process and available in each of the 12 languages that FairShare currently supports.
FairShare helps make the Creative Commons “Sharing Economy” vision a reality by enabling millions to reuse content in a way that provides a value back to the original content creator – value that each creator can define for themselves.
As you know, I do a fair amount of listening, so when I using monitoring tools I can see exactly who is using my content and in what context. That is if they mentioned my name or linked to me. My goal in using this tool is not to police my content. Rather, I want to see how it is being remixed so I reap the benefits of the Sharing Economy.
Update: Article in the LA Times
Lucy Bernholz, Foundations Set Your Content Free
How do you feel about setting your content free using creative commons licensing? What are your concerns? What are your rewards? How would you use a tool like fairshare?