Once upon a time…the Tale of how Creative Commons came to be

Submitted for Assignment 1, Creative Commons Certificate:  What is Creative Commons

Once upon a time, there was copyright:  law that gives creators control copyright symbolover the things that create…or does it?

Originally creators had to apply for copyright, and then apply that symbol we all know so well, to indicate their ownership over their creations.  But, over time, the need to apply for copyright disappeared, and today creators are automatically granted copyright over their creations.  Sounds great, right? Alas, this change actually meant that it became harder for creators to share their works, because they had no way of licensing them outside of the strict guidelines of copyright.

In addition, copyright length had over time slowly changed from ending when a creator died, to 50 years past the creator’s death.  Then one day in 1998, the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Term Act, sometimes called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act (yes, the Sony Bono Act was designed to extend Disney’s copyright over Mickey Mouse), was enacted, extending the life of copyright an additional 20 years, to 70 years beyond creator’s death.

Would copyright extensions ever end? This podcast from 2018 asks, and tries to answer, this question:

TWIT Tech Podcast

Fed up with these restrictions and ever-evolving time limits, in 2002, Eric Eldred and his attorney Lawrence Lessig challenged the Sony Bono Extension Act all the way to the Supreme Court (Eldred v Ashcroft).  While they ultimately lost, Lessig did not give up the fight for open creativity, as you can see in his 2007 Ted Talks, Laws that Choke Creativity.

Larry Lessig on Ted Talks

Creative Commons logoLessig, Eldred, and others continued the fight against laws that try to stifle sharing and creativity, and in the same year they lost their case in the Supreme Court,  Creative Commons was born.

Creative Commons is first a non-profit organization that supports creators to both retain their copyright, and allow them to freely share their creations as they choose, to allow others to Retain, Revise, Reuse, Remix, and Redistribute, if you don’t mind me invoking the 5 Rs of Open Educational Resources.

Creative Commons is also recognized as a set of free to use licenses that copyright owners can use to show how they want their work to be shared.  Three examples of these licenses are:

CC-BY  CC-BY, where BY stands for attribution, so that those who use your work, must credit you.

CC-BY-SA CC-BY-SA, where SA stands for Share Alike, meaning that others may copy, distribute, display, or modify your work as long as they then apply a SA license to their work.

CC-BY-ND CC-BY-ND, where ND stands for No Derivatives meaning that others may copy, distribute, and display your work, but they may not modify it without your permission.

License images from Creative Commons:  Licensing Types Examples.

And finally, Creative Commons is a global movement;  according to the Creative Commons website, there are over 1.6 billion works around the world with CC licenses.  In addition,  The CC Global Network brings together creators, activists, and supporters to increase this number and spread the word of sharing via CC.  Getting involved is easy:  just sign up, decide how you want to get involved (following the Network, sharing to the Network, etc.), and you’re all set to get started on your journey.

The story of Creative Commons is not over yet – it continues, celebrating a world-wide community of sharing creators.


[TWIT Tech Podcast Network]. (2018, January 19). Mickey Mouse and Copyright Term Extension. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9UcAQhTOaw&feature=youtu.be

Lessig, Larry. (2007, November 15). Laws that choke creativity. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs&feature=youtu.be

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This entry was posted in Creative Commons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Once upon a time…the Tale of how Creative Commons came to be

  1. Pingback: NaNoPoblano 2019: November 5 – Day 2 of Posting! | Zombie Flamingos

  2. Vanessence says:

    I knew about the Disney thing, but the other information was new. Thank you for the lesson!


  3. ghostmmnc says:

    I never thought much about all this, so it was interesting to find out a little something. 🙂


  4. schudele says:

    Reblogged this on eLearning, Camosun College and commented:
    I am currently taking, and getting close to finishing, the Creative Commons certificate course, and as part of this course have been writing blog posts for my assignments on my own blog site. So, I thought I would share some of these with you so you can also learn a bit about Creative Commons, what it is, what it does, and many other exciting and interesting things!

    And, without further ado: Once upon a time…the Tale of how Creative Commons came to be !


  5. Pingback: » [ETUG Bloggers] Once Upon a Time…the Tale of How Creative Commons Came to Be

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s