Copyright or Creative Common License?

Some marketers are very savvy about using the type of licensing for their work. However, much too often when I run into some documents and thinking that I wanted to share the documents with others in the public zone, the docs have ironclad copyright provisions build into it. 


In this era of transparency, social networking – why even bother to go that route? If you want to have people share your documents without guilt, make it easy for them to have it in the form of ‘in the commons.’ Even if decided you try to go all rights reserved copyright, there are people out there willingly share some copyrighted materials in the open. 

Sharing and storing documents in the open is the way to go. What you want is extending your brand via your creative works or documents you read through multiple channel of distributions. Social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, etc. You get the idea.

Okay, I’m not going to talk about the legality of copyright here. I’m more interested in discussing the application and implementation of Creative Commons license. Everyone should know what copyright is, right. If not, go check out the Copyright basic here. Creative Commons is a form of licensing that allows you to mix, sharing, repurposing and remixing.

So I opened up a new Flickr account recently. Then I was faced with those questions what kind of CC licensing I want for the pictures. For sure I don’t want to go all rights reserved, that’s just so not me. That leads me to CC site

Here’s what you do when you want to tell the world that they can do whatever they want to share your documents.

First you decide how you want to go about. Depending on the type of conditions, you can choose the type of licensing you want to apply from there. 

The conditions:

  • by Attribution – you let others copy your copyrighted work and derivative works only if they give you credit.
  • share alike – you let others to distribute derivative works under a license identical to your work.
  • non- commercial – you let others do whatever they want (copy, distribute, display) only for non-commercial use. 
  • no derivative work – you let others copy verbatim and not derivative works.

From there, then you decide what kind of CC licensing. There are six types of licenses:

#1. Attribution – you do whatever, just credit back to me.


#2. Attribution Share Alike – the open source of licensing.


#3. Attribution No Derivatives – you can redistribute but no change, please with credit back to me.


#4. Attribution Non Commercial – you can re-create, remix, tweak.. whatever as long as the new work is non-commercial.



#5. Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike – you let other remix, tweak, build  your work non-commercially as long as they credit back to you. 


#6. Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives – the free advertising type (to you), no change is permitted long as they mention and credit goes back to you and no commercial use. 


That should be easy, right.

In a summary, CC still gives you some protection, it’s just not iron clad. Your followers are given the choice for taking your stuff further down the line.

Steal this idea

Here’s for an inspiration on the commons. Seth Godin’s work on “Unleashing the Idea Virus” that got downloaded more than 250,000 times. 

The licensing: You have permission to post this, email this, print this and pass it along for free to anyone you like, as long as you make no changes or edits to its contents or digital format. Done!

So, what do you decide?

Download this file



Author: Dewita

Co-founder Ecotwist Labs.

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