What are Creative Commons Licenses

Students, professionals and web developers, among others, are always in need of contents for their work. To produce them, the only legal alternatives were two: they either went to a library (or search on the Internet), pick up a camera (or a piano or guitar) and produced the contents they needed one by one until the end of their project; or they hired a professional who did that certain part of the work separately, agree on certain distribution rights and paid the revenues, accordingly.

Of course, most people simply rejected this and got what they needed from the roads of piracy.

Now that has —fortunately— changed. There are many authors around the world who have agreed to share some of the rights they have on their works under a special license called Creative Commons. Lawrence Lessig, founder of this non-profit organization, has, this way, provided intellectual workers a priceless alternative to carry out their works legally and faster. If the work is licensed under a Creative Commons license, you can use it for free... as long as you comply with the directives of the license, of course.

Frequently-asked questions about works licensed under Creative Commons

Do I need to ask permission to the owner to use his or her work?

No, you don't, as long as you comply with the terms of the license. If you see that the work is licensed under Creative Commons, you can assume that the author has already granted you permission to use his or her work under the license he has chosen.

What happens if the license doesn't fit my needs?

In such a case, you can still contact the author to request him or her permission to use his or her work under new terms. It will be up to the author to grant you the permission or ask for a compensation for the use of his or her work.

What happens if I got contents under a Creative Commons license but it is now with full copyright?

Creative Commons licenses are not retroactive. This means that if you got the work under a Creative Commons license, that is the license that applies to you, even if the author decides to withdraw the permissions later.

Can you use Heptagrama.com's Creative Commons license to illustrate the whole point?

Sure. Heptagrama.com is provided under a Attribution Non-commercial Creative Commons license. That means that you can copy and modify the contents of this website as you like, as long as you will not use your resulting work to make any profit. If you are going to seek profit with the contents we are creating on Heptagrama, then we have the right to ask you for a compensation if we deem it appropriate. Besides, you must state clearly that your work is based on ours.

What happens if I "overlook" that part of the agreement and I use a Creative Commons license in another way?

Simple, you would be breaching the terms of the license and that would leave you the grounds for a formal lawsuit against you, to the maximum extent permitted by the laws in force. Yes, that will cost you a lot of troubles.

Check CreativeCommons.org for more information.

Knowledge + Legal