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Panorama of the server room of the data centre.

So what?

Creative commons are a new response to reality of copyright in the digital age.

Because copyright law is very much about the private or personal rights of authors, it can be limiting in a digital age where copyright ‘rights’ immediately attach to any new form of original and published works, when an author actually wants to publicly share their work around the work and permit copying.

Rather than an ‘all rights reserved’ approach to copyright works, creative commons has been described as a ‘some rights reserved’ approach.

What is creative commons?

A creative commons licence is a free and standardised set of conditions that authors of works can adopt that allow the public to share and use their material, as long as they follow a set of rules that an author is prepared to grant. The conditions can include permissions to copy as long as the use is ‘non-commercial.’

But, why would anyone want to ‘give away’ their creative works, and not get paid for them?

Creative commons themselves say that one reason is that there are some spaces where some the social good of sharing might be very valuable, like educational institutions sharing their learning resources. It might also allow authors greater access to new media or electronic platforms and get better engagement with the world, or more professional publicity. Finally, it also opens up the potential for collaboration or improvement through the adaptation of works.

Share your thoughts on the creative commons licence movement by taking part in this poll.

What you need to do

  1. Respond to the ‘So what?’ poll.
  2. Return to this step, and then within the Comments, share with other learners the reason for your answer.

How did you respond?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to the poll question, give an example of a work with creative commons licensing you know of that has been shared and used by the wider community.

If you answered ‘No’, describe the changes that you would make to creative commons licensing to allow for work to be shared.

Curious about the results of the poll?

Review the results of the poll, return to this step and then within the Comments, let other learners know about your thoughts on the outcome.

Once you have, take some time to read and respond to comments made by other learners. Remember, you can also ‘Like’ comments or follow other learners throughout the course.


All the information collected will be stored and handled according to Google’s Privacy Policy / T&C. Your participation has no effect on your course progress, marks or FutureLearn profile.


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This article is from the free online course:

Law for Non-Lawyers: Introduction to Law

Monash University