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Al Jazeera has always displayed a willingness to broadcasting opposing views and, really, show the “real” story behind Middle Eastern events. In 2009, Al Jazeera created a repository of videos shot in Gaza. This was footage that Western journalists had no access to because they simply had no access to the area. And so it was information that Western audiences had no access to. What is remarkable is that Al Jazeera offered these videos under a Creative Commons license; they were completely free and usable (with attribution) by anyone. By the public, by rival news groups. Not only did this information become more widely accessible, it reinforced Al Jazeera’s reputation as credible, authoritative, and possessing one goal: to bring news to the people.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit based in the United States; it has Affiliate Networks in over 70 jurisdictions, including the UK. It allows people to share their work (and for people to use that work) legally and consistently with copyright rules. CC is a great resource for web owners because they can access creative work for their sites without fear of recourse.

For those who are licensing their work under Creative Commons, the group provides free copyright licenses and other tools to ensure their work is shared, remixed, reused, and used for commercial purposes according to their wishes. Now, why allow your work to be shared?

  • It might be “shared” anyway. It is easy for people to copy and paste images and other material and use it. If this happens, you get no credit for the content that is rightfully yours.
  • If you do secure a Creative Commons license, people can use your work for their own purposes – but you get to decide how. You also receive attribution. This benefits the web owner because they are using legal material; it benefits you because you receive credit.
  • It builds your credibility in specific areas. If, for instance, you are a photographer, your stock images may be used by websites all over the world. They are attributed to you.
  • If nothing else, you know that you’re helping other people!

Securing a Creative Commons License

  1. Visit the Creative Commons website.
  2. Read the “Considerations before licensing” and “How the licenses work” sections before proceeding.
  3. In the box on the left side of the screen, determine whether you want to allow modifications of your work and if you want your work to be used for commercial purposes.
  4. Select your jurisdiction.
  5. The appropriate license type will be displayed in the box to the right.
  6. Fill out the “Help Others Attribute You” form.
  7. CC will develop a code that you can copy and paste to your website to let your visitors know that your work is licensed under Creative Commons.

And there you have it. Before you attain your license, make sure that it is appropriate for your needs and that you read all of the supporting material provided by Creative Commons.

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