The Creative Commons web site went live earlier today. Creative Commons is the project started by Lawrence Lessig and others to make it easy for content creators to easily license their work on terms that are more flexible than existing copyright laws.
The obvious analogy to this is the GPL and similar open source licenses. The cool thing about Creative Commons is that content creators will be able to create a customized license based on just how much and under what circumstances the content creator wants to license his or her work.
There are currently going to be options to license only if the creator is given attribution, only for noncommercial purposes, only if no derivative works are produced, only for private duplication and a copyleft-style provision for redistribution. And content creators will get to pick and choose among those options, so if you want to license something only if you get credit and only for noncommercial uses, you can.
Creative Commons will handle creation of these customized licenses with an online application that will generate the license language as well as generate what Creative Commons calls a “Commons Deed” which is a short, easy to read summary of the licensing scheme (both the deed and the license will be stored at Creative Commons which has plans to create a searchable guide of material using the Creative Commons license).
In the future, Creative Commons hopes to have a machine readable standard for this, so a metadata tag in an online essay would indicate the licensing scheme that the essay is covered by.
This is everything I had hoped Creative Commons would be. When they go live with generating licenses in the Fall, this thing is going to rock.
There are no revisions for this post.