A free, easy to use system of licensing available to anyone for any work inspired by Eric Eldred, and developed by a number of scholars and activists, including Lawrence Lessig. The licensing system allows flexible use of the underlying copyright, avoiding the rigidities that tend to allow copyright to be abused, as many believe Disney and other media companies have. The project was motivated by the recognition that some authors are happy to free some of the rights that copyright grants them, so that others can exercise those rights without having to ask permission first. The motivations for releasing these rights vary: Some adopt Creative Commons licenses for commercial reasons. See, for example, Magnatune. Others adopt Creative Commons licenses for philosophical or political reasons, philanthropy or in an effort to encourage cooperation and a wider range of derivative works, much like the GPL does for software.
Under this system, there are several licensing terms:
- Attribution - "The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. In return, licensees must give the original author credit."
- NonCommercial - "The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. In return, licensees may not use the work for commercial purposes -- unless they get the licensor's permission."
- NoDervis - "The licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display and perform only unaltered copies of the work -- not derivative works based on it."
- ShareAlike - "The licensor permits others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the one that governs the licensor's work."
These terms produce six core combinations (Attribution is a mandatory term):