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Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is the forefront non-profit organization promoting free culture, i.e. basically relaxation of "intellectual property" (such as copyright) in art. One of the most important contributions of the organization are the widely used Creative Commons licenses which artists may use to make their works more legally free and even put them to the public domain.

Generally speaking Creative Commons brought a lot of good -- not only did it bring attention to the issues of "intellectual property", it made a huge number of people and organizations actually relax or completely waive their rights on works they create. We, LRS, especially appreciate the CC0 public domain waiver that we prefer for our own works, like did many others, and other licenses such as CC BY-SA are still popular and better than "all rights reserved". However Creative Commons is still a big, centralized organization prone to corruption, it will most definitely suffer the same degeneration as any other organization in history, so don't get attached to it.



Creative commons licenses/waivers form a spectrum spanning from complete freedom (CC0, public domain, no conditions on use) to complete fascism (prohibiting basically everything except for non-commercial sharing). This means that NOT all Creative Commons licenses are free cultural licenses -- this is acknowledged by Creative Commons and has been intended. Keep in mind that as a good human you mustn't ever use licenses with NC (non-commercial use only) or ND (no derivatives allowed) clauses, these make your work non-free and therefore unusable.

Here is a comparison of the Creative Commons licenses/waivers, from most free (best) to least free (worst):

name abbreviation free culture use share remix copyleft attribution non-commercial comment
Creative Commons Zero CC0 yes :) yes :) yes :) yes :) no :) no need :) no :) public domain, copyright waiver, no restrictions, most freedom, best, sadly doesn't waive patents and trademraks
Creative Commons Attribution CC BY yes?* yes?* yes :) yes :) no :) forced :( no :) requires attribution to authors, *: limits some uses ("anti DRM"), rejected by copyfree, rather don't use
Creative Commons Sharealike CC SA yes :) yes :) yes :) yes :) yes :/ no need :) no :) retired, secret license, no longer recommended by CC, pure copyleft/sharealike without forced attribution
Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike CC BY-SA yes :) yes :) yes :) yes :) yes :/ forced :( no :) requires attribution to authors and copyleft (sharing under same terms)
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial CC BY-NC NO! :((( yes but yes but yes but yes :/ forced :( yes :( proprietary fascist license prohibiting commercial use, DO NOT USE
Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivs CC BY-ND NO! :((( yes but yes but NO! :( yes :/ forced :( no but proprietary fascist license prohibiting modifications, DO NOT USE
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND NO! :((( yes but yes but NO! :( yes :/ forced :( yes :( proprietary fascist license prohibiting commercial use and even modifications, DO NOT USE
Creative Commons Attribution NoValue CC BY NV no yes yes no no forced yes joke license by Question Copyright :)
none (all rights reserved) NO! :((( NO! :( NO! :( NO! :( FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU proprietary fascist option, prohibits everything, DO NOT USE

Out of Creative Commons licenses/waivers always use CC0, that's the only one aligned with our goals, it's the one that's closest to completely rejecting any control over the work. Even though legally and practically there probably won't be such a large difference between CC0 and let's say CC BY, the mental jump to absolute public domain is important (small step for lawyer, huge leap for freedom) -- it's known that people who use the imperfect licenses such as CC BY SA still feel a small grip and authority over their work, they still have to overlook that the license "isn't violated" and sometimes even start making trouble (see e.g. the infamous meltdown of David Revoy over his "moral rights being violated with NFTs" despite his work being CC BY { Thanks to a friend for finding this. ~drummyfish }). Don't do this, just let go. If you love it, let it go.

There Creative Commons license paradox: there seems to be a curious pattern noticeable in the world of Creative Commons licensed works (and possibly free culture and free software in general) -- the phenomenon is that the shittier the art, the more restrictive license it will have. { I noticed this on opengameart but then found it basically applies everywhere. ~drummyfish } Upon closer inspection it doesn't look so surprising after all: more restrictive licenses are used as a slow and careful transition from "all right reserved" world, i.e. they are used by newcomers and noobs who fear that if they don't enforce attribution people will immediately exploit it. More skilled people who have spent some time in the world of free art and published more things already know this doesn't happen and they know that less restrictive licenses are just better in all aspects.

See Also

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