Copyright News
By. Faith Amatika
reative Commons (CC)
licenses are a group of pub
lic copyright licenses that
enable free distribution of
an otherwise copyrighted work.
They allow others to share, use and
build upon what others have created.
Come to think of it, assuming you
have a very educative piece of litera
ture or music that you have created
and therefore have copyright in it. Of
what benefit is it to you if no one can
read or listen to simply because it is
protected by copyright?
Copyright grants the holder the
exclusive right to copy, publicly
perform, publicly display, adapt, or
digitally publicly perform his/her
Doing any of the forgoing acts
without the express permission of
the copyright holder constitutes an
infringement; unless it is proved that
the act has been done under fair use.
CC licenses, therefore, allow a
creative to allow people to perform
any of those acts without first having
to get express authorisation from
him which would in any case be
cumbersome and time consuming.
Types of CC licenses
There are a number of CC licenses and
the most common ones are:
Attribution (BY): This
license allows a
licensee to use the
work as long as they
acknowledge the
Share Alike (SA):
Allows licensees to
share derivatives of the
work only under a
license that governs
the original work
(NC): Allows a licensee
to use and share the
work only for non-
commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works
(ND): This one allows
licensees to share and
use the work as long
as they do not adapt it.
Getting a CC License for
your work
This is a very easy, straightforward
procedure. Simply check http://
creativecommons.org/choose/ from
this link, you will be able to answer a
few questions for instance; will you
allow commercial use? Will you allow
modifications? Once you are through
with all the questions, you will have
your license.
Is there any commercial
benefit to CC?
As already stated, CC licenses allow
a creative to distribute his/her work
in wider circles as the copyright
restriction is removed. This does not
however mean that a creative does not
benefit in any way commercially.
If anything, they stand to benefit
more. Take for example an artiste with
a new album that is such a hit, everyone
wants to listen to it. However, due to
copyright restrictions, many may not
afford or access it unless they engage
in piracy. If the artiste licenses it on
say, CC BY and NC, it means that the
music can be copied and distributed
to the widest circles but only for non-
commercial purposes, as long as the
author is recognized.
Anyone who deals with that music
in a commercial way is likely to face
a charge of offering for sale works to
which he owns no copyright.
The artist’s recourse then would be
to enter into commercial agreements
probably with a music streaming site
for the site to distribute his music
in return for a sum of money. The
beauty with such sites is that they are
interspersed with adverts and a large
amount of money is paid to the site
owners. The site owners then pay the
artist depending on the agreement.
Therefore, the more and the wider
the music is streamed, the more the
money that comes to the artiste. The
fame of the artiste also rises as more
and more people are able to hear their
music and know him/her. This would
not be possible if there were restrictions
on the distribution and copying of the
music for copyright reasons.
CC licenses therefore take the
rights that belong exclusively to the
artiste and allow the artist to allow
others to have those rights but in a
regulated way. With CC, you don’t
give up your copyright; you refine it,
and everyone benefits!
The Commercial Benefit
of Creative Commons Licenses