IMAGINE this: You have to create a Powerpoint slideshow for work (or a school project). You download an image from the Internet and use it in your slides. You take weeks to prepare for your work. Your colleagues (or teachers) congratulate you for your efforts. You post your work on the Internet. One day, you receive an email saying that you have infringed on someone’s Copyright.
This is a hypothetical example, yet it could be true. It could happen to you.
In general, unless you have obtained the explicit permission from the owner, you may not use the content in any way (you can read more about Copyright at http://www.ipos.gov.sg/leftNav/cop/About+Copyright.htm). But there are exceptions to this rule.
Sometimes you write to the copyright owner to seek permission, but you may not get a reply in time, if at all. Sometimes, it is unclear who has the rights to the content you are interested in. Or the content owner may not have indicated how you can get in touch with them. As a result, you end up not being able to use the content. Some people may just simply use it without permission, which is not the right thing to do.
Creative Commons (or commonly referred to as ‘CC’) can be explained as follows:
• CC is not an alternative to Copyright, but a complement. It is not about losing one’s copyright, but reinforcing it by explicitly stating the conditions of use.
• Traditional copyright implies that permission is not granted, until it is sought and given by the owner. With CC, the creator explicitly gives the permission and the conditions that have to be met.
Here is an example of a license where the owner wishes to let others share and make use the work, with some restrictions or conditions: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/sg
There is a growing number of search engines that allow you to look for CC-licensed materials:
About the author
Ivan has been sharing his words, music and art under a CC license since 2008. His CC-licensed works can be found at RamblingLibrarian.blogspot.com and MyRightBrain.wordpress.com. He releases his online music albums at StarfishStories.wordpress.com. He also volunteers as the Community Manager for Creative Commons Singapore (CC-SG). Updates about CC-SG can be found at CreativeCommonsSingapore.wordpress.com.