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Alex Haley Tribute Site Creative Commons License Usage
Our Usage of The Creative Commons License
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that increases sharing and improves collaboration. They work to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons"—the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.
Creative Commons provides free, easy-to-use legal tools to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved."

Basic Definitions
Adaptation: A work based upon the Work, or upon the Work and other pre-existing works, such as a translation, adaptation, derivative work, arrangement of music or other alterations of a literary or artistic work, or phonogram or performance and includes cinematographic adaptations or any other form in which the Work may be recast, transformed, or adapted including in any form recognizably derived from the original, except that a work that constitutes a Collection will not be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License. For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is a musical work, performance or phonogram, the synchronization of the Work in timed-relation with a moving image ("synching") will be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License.
Collection: A collection of literary or artistic works, such as encyclopedias and anthologies, or performances, phonograms or broadcasts, or other works or subject matter other than works listed in Section 1(f) below, which, by reason of the selection and arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations, in which the Work is included in its entirety in unmodified form along with one or more other contributions, each constituting separate and independent works in themselves, which together are assembled into a collective whole. A work that constitutes a Collection will not be considered an Adaptation (as defined above) for the purposes of this License.
Distribute: To make available to the public the original and copies of the Work or Adaptation, as appropriate, through sale or other transfer of ownership.
Licensor: The individual, individuals, entity or entities that offer(s) the Work under the terms of this License.
Original Author: In the case of a literary or artistic work, the individual, individuals, entity or entities who created the Work or if no individual or entity can be identified, the publisher; and in addition (i) in the case of a performance the actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret or otherwise perform literary or artistic works or expressions of folklore; (ii) in the case of a phonogram the producer being the person or legal entity who first fixes the sounds of a performance or other sounds; and, (iii) in the case of broadcasts, the organization that transmits the broadcast.
Work: The literary and / or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including without limitation any production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression including digital form, such as a book, pamphlet and other writing; a lecture, address, sermon or other work of the same nature; a dramatic or dramatico-musical work; a choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show; a musical composition with or without words; a cinematographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; a work of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving or lithography; a photographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; a work of applied art; an illustration, map, plan, sketch or three-dimensional work relative to geography, topography, architecture or science; a performance; a broadcast; a phonogram; a compilation of data to the extent it is protected as a copyrightable work; or a work performed by a variety or circus performer to the extent it is not otherwise considered a literary or artistic work.
You: An individual or entity exercising rights under this License who has not previously violated the terms of this License with respect to the Work, or who has received express permission from the Licensor to exercise rights under this License despite a previous violation.
Publicly Perform: To perform public recitations of the Work and to communicate to the public those public recitations, by any means or process, including by wire or wireless means or public digital performances; to make available to the public Works in such a way that members of the public may access these Works from a place and at a place individually chosen by them; to perform the Work to the public by any means or process and the communication to the public of the performances of the Work, including by public digital performance; to broadcast and rebroadcast the Work by any means including signs, sounds or images.
Reproduce: To make copies of the Work by any means including without limitation by sound or visual recordings and the right of fixation and reproducing fixations of the Work, including storage of a protected performance or phonogram in digital form or other electronic medium.
What are the terms of a Creative Commons license?
The key terms of the core suite of Creative Commons licenses are: Attribution, NonCommercial, NoDerivatives and ShareAlike. These license elements are succinctly described as follows:
Attribution Attribution. You let people copy, distribute, display, perform, and remix your copyrighted work, as long as they give you credit the way you request. All CC licenses contain this property.
NonCommercial NonCommercial. You let people copy, distribute, display, perform, and remix your work for non-commercial purposes only. If they want to use your work for commercial purposes, they must contact you for permission.
ShareAlike ShareAlike. You let people create remixes and derivative works based on your creative work, as long as they only distribute them under the same Creative Commons license that your original work was published under.
NoDerivatives NoDerivatives. You let people copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work—not make derivative works based on it. If they want to alter, transform, build upon, or remix your work, they must contact you for permission.
For an overview of the licenses and links to the Commons Deed and Legal Code, check out this page.
So "NonCommercial" means that the work cannot be used commercially?
Not quite. The "NonCommercial" license option means that you do not receive the commercial rights via the Creative Commons license. You can always approach the licensor directly to see if they will separately license you the commercial rights.
What does the Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" button mean? What does a Creative Commons license do?
A Creative Commons license is a signal to you that you can use the work without having to seek out the individual creator or licensor and ask for permission—provided you use the work in the manner permitted by the Creative Commons license. The Commons Deed sets out the key terms governing your use of the work.
What happens if I want to make a different use of the work?
If you want to use a Creative Commons-licensed work in a manner that is not permitted under the terms of the Creative Commons license, you need to contact the creator and / or licensor and ask for their permission. If you use a Creative-Commons licensed work contrary to the terms of the Creative Commons license, your right to use the work terminates and you could be sued for infringement of copyright.
So I don't have to pay to use Creative Commons-licensed works if I comply with the license terms?
As a general rule yes—Creative Commons licenses are made available under royalty-free licenses. In the case of Creative Commons-licensed works that are licensed for NonCommercial use only, the creator or licensor reserves the right to collect statutory royalties or royalties under compulsory licenses for commercial uses such as those collected for public performances; so, you may still have to pay a collecting society for such uses of Creative Commons licensed works. However, these are indirect payments, not payments to the licensor.
How do I use a Creative Commons-licensed work?
If you come across a work that says it is made available under a Creative Commons license, you are authorized by the licensor to use it consistent with those license terms. You should satisfy yourself that the scope of the license covers your intended uses. Since there are a number of versions of the Creative Commons licenses, you should read the particular license carefully to ensure that the license meets your needs. All Creative Commons licenses require that you attribute the author, licensor and / or any other parties specified by the author/licensor. To correctly use a Creative Commons licensed work, you must provide proper attribution. This is explained in the answer below.
To get an understanding of the key terms of the license, check out the Commons Deed for the license and / or review this page, which has links to the Commons Deed and basic explanations of all of our licenses.
When are publicity rights relevant?
In the U.S., publicity rights allow individuals to control how their voice, image or likeness is used for commercial purposes in public. These rights are relevant to any work that contains human subjects, such as photographs, audio or video interviews, plays, songs, and other spoken or visual content. When transmitting this sort of content, including the voices or images of anyone other than yourself, you may need to get permission from those individuals if you are using their voice or images for commercial purposes. This is a distinct and separate obligation from obtaining the copyright license for the works itself, which only gives you a license from the author (or photographer) but not from the subjects. A Creative Commons license does not waive or otherwise affect the publicity rights of subjects.
Jurisdictions outside of the U.S. may have rights that are similar in effect to publicity and privacy rights. You may need to consider those other rights before using a CC licensed work that embodies a person's image, voice, or related spoken or visual content.
The Podcasting Legal Guide has further discussion of publicity rights issues of general relevance.
Does using a Creative Commons-licensed work give me all the rights I need?
You should be aware that all of the licenses contain a disclaimer of warranties, so there is no assurance whatsoever that the licensor has all the necessary rights to permit reuse of the licensed work. The disclaimer means that the licensor is not guaranteeing anything about the work, including that she owns the copyright to it, or that she has cleared any uses of third-party content that her work may be based on or incorporate.
This is typical of so-called "open source" licenses, where works are made widely and freely available for reuse at no charge. The original version 1.0 of the Creative Commons licenses contained a warranty, but we ultimately concluded that, as with "open source" licenses, warranties and indemnities are best determined separately by private bargain, so that each licensor and licensee can determine the appropriate allocation of risk and reward for their unique situation. One option thus would be to use private contract to obtain a warranty and indemnification from the licensor, although it is likely that the licensor would charge for this benefit.
As a result of the warranty disclaimer, before using a Creative Commons licensed work, you should satisfy yourself that the person has all the necessary rights to make the work available under a Creative Commons license. You should know that if you are wrong, you could be liable for copyright infringement based on your use of the work.
You should learn about what rights need to be cleared and when a fair use or fair dealing defense may be available. It could be that the licensor is relying on the fair use or fair dealing doctrine, but depending on the circumstances, that legal defense may or may not actually protect her (or you). You should educate yourself about the various rights that may be implicated in a copyrighted work, because creative works often incorporate multiple elements such as, for example, underlying stories and characters, recorded sound and song lyrics. If the work contains recognizable third-party content, it may be advisable to independently verify that it has been authorized for reuse under a Creative Commons license. If the work contains images, voices, or likenesses of people, educate yourself about publicity rights.
Additionally, you should know that CC licenses do not give you permission to use any trademarks that may be associated with a CC licensed-work. You should ask the owner of a trademark for permission first.
The result of this is that you should always use your informed good judgment, and you may want to obtain legal advice.
How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?
All current CC licenses require that you attribute the original author(s). If the copyright holder has not specified any particular way to attribute them, this does not mean that you do not have to give attribution. It simply means that you will have to give attribution to the best of your ability with the information you do have. Generally speaking, this implies five things:
  • If the work itself contains any copyright notices placed there by the copyright holder, you must leave those notices in tact, or reproduce them in a way that is reasonable to the medium in which you are re-publishing the work.
  • Cite the author's name, screen name, user identification, etc. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link that name to the person's profile page, if such a page exists.
  • Cite the work's title or name, if such a thing exists. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link the name or title directly to the original work.
  • Cite the specific CC license the work is under. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice if the license citation links to the license on the CC website.
  • If you are making a derivative work or adaptation, in addition to the above, you need to identify that your work is a derivative work i.e., "This is a Finnish translation of the [original work] by [author]." or "Screenplay based on [original work] by [author]."
In the case where a copyright holder does choose to specify the manner of attribution, in addition to the requirement of leaving in tact existing copyright notices, they are only able to require certain things. Namely:
  • They may require that you attribute the work to a certain name, pseudonym or even an organization of some sort.
  • They may require you to associate/provide a certain URL (web address) for the work.
If you are interested to see what an actual license ("legalcode") has to say about attribution, you can use the CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license as an example. Please note that this is only an example, and you should always read the appropriate section of the specific license in question ... usually, but perhaps not always, section 4(b) or 4(c):
What is a derivative work?
A derivative work is a work that is based on another work but is not an exact, verbatim copy. What this means exactly and comprehensively is the subject of many law journal articles and much debate and pontification. In general, a translation from one language to another or a film version of a book are examples of derivative works. Under Creative Commons' core licenses, synching music in timed-relation with a moving image is considered to be a derivative work.
It's important to note, however, that the Creative Commons licenses allow the user to exercise the rights permitted under the license in any format or media, even in the NoDerivatives licenses. This means that, under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license, for example, you can copy the work from a digital file to a print file consistent with the terms of that license.
If I use a Creative Commons-licensed work with other works, do I have to Creative Commons license everything else as well?
With the exception of those of our licenses that contain the ShareAlike element, the Creative Commons licenses do not require everything else to be Creative Commons licensed as well. We specifically designed the Creative Commons licenses so that they would not turn all other works they were combined with into being Creative Commons-licensed. If you combine any work with a Creative Commons-licensed work that is licensed with a ShareAlike license provision, then, because of the way that the ShareAlike license element operates, the resultant work will need to be licensed under the same license as the original work.
If you include a Creative Commons licensed work in a "collective work" (ie. a collection of works in their exact original format, not adaptations), then you only need to continue to apply the Creative Commons license to that work (even if the work was licensed under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license provision). You do not need to apply it to the entire collection.
Can I combine two different Creative Commons licensed works? Can I combine a Creative Commons licensed work with another non-CC licensed work?
Generally yes; you can combine one Creative Commons licensed work with another Creative Commons licensed work or with another work.
The one big caveat is for Creative Commons licenses that contain the ShareAlike license element (ie. Attribution-ShareAlike, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). These licenses require derivative works (ie. the result of two combined works) to be licensed under the same license elements. So, you cannot, for example, combine an Attribution-ShareAlike license with an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. If you are combining a work licensed under a ShareAlike license condition, you need to make sure that you are happy and able to license the resulting work under the same license conditions as the original work.
If I use a Creative Commons-licensed work to create a new work (ie a derivative work or adaptation), which Creative Commons license can I use for my new work?
The chart below should give you some assistance in figuring out which Creative Commons license you can use on your new work. Some of our licenses just do not, as practical matter, work together.
The green boxes indicate license compatibility. That is, you may use the license indicated in the top row for your derivative work or adaptation, or for a collective work. The blank rows for the by-nc-nd and by-nd licenses indicate that derivative works or adaptations are not permitted by the license of the original work, therefore you are never allowed to re-license them.

Compatibility Chart Terms that can be used for a derivative work or adaptation
byby-ncby-nc-ndby-nc-saby-ndby-sapd
Status of original workpd        
by       
by-nc       
by-nc-nd        
by-nc-sa       
by-nd        
by-sa       

Abbreviation Key
Fair use note: CC Licenses do not change, alter, or modify fair use rights. You may still use fair use rights to incorporate CC works for any qualifying purpose.
This chart is not a substitute for obtaining your own legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or represented as legal advice.
I'm collecting a number of different works together into one resource. Can I include Creative Commons-licensed material?
All the Creative Commons licenses allow the original work to be included in collections such as anthologies, encyclopedias and broadcasts. However, you still have to follow the license the original material is under. For example, material under any of the Creative Commons Noncommercial licenses cannot be included in a collection that is going to be used commercially. The table below will help you work out whether you can include the Creative Commons-licensed material in your collection.
Note that when you include a Creative Commons licensed work in a collection, you must keep the work under the same license. This doesn't mean the whole collection has to be put under the Creative Commons license—just the original work.

Original Work Commercial Collected Work NonCommercial Collected Work
pd   
by   
by-nc   
by-nc-nd   
by-nc-sa   
by-nd   
by-sa   

Can I change the terms of a CC license or waive some of its conditions?
You can change any of our licenses, but if you do so you should know that your modified license is not likely to be compatible with CC's licenses. Also, if you change our licenses then you cannot say that your work is licensed under a CC license. Read our policies for more information.
This doesn't mean, however, that if a user of your work comes to you and asks permission to do (or not do) something the license says she must do (or not do), that you can't agree to that. Our licenses anticipate that a licensor may want to waive compliance with a specific condition, such as attribution. Our 3.0 licenses specifically allow this to happen, so long as the waiver or consent is in writing and signed.
Technical Questions
I want to give users of my site the option to choose Creative Commons licensing; how do I do that?
You can directly integrate the Creative Commons license selection engine into your site. This can be useful if you have an application or website that allows people to contribute content and you want to give them the option to apply Creative Commons licenses to their works. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to integrate our license selection engine with a website. We also have a web services API for integration with any application.
Why did Creative Commons choose to use the RDF format for its metadata?
Creative Commons looked for the best way to express the intent behind the licenses in machine-readable form. We feel that our system provides the best of all possible worlds: RDF, XML, and even plain text-based tools can easily process our metadata files because we provide them with a structured format. But just as XML tools make it easier to process the information than text-based ones, RDF ones make it even easier—so we encourage all of our developers to use RDF tools where possible. We're also working with the community to provide CC sample code, in many different languages, that shows how easy it is to take advantage of the RDF information. We're also open to providing converters from RDF to other formats. If you have such a tool or would like one, please send information about it to our metadata list.
How can I use Creative Commons metadata in my program?
You can use it in a variety of ways. A painting, writing, or drawing program could let its users know about their rights granted by the licensor of the file. File sharing software could highlight files with Creative Commons licenses and encourage users to download them. In fact, we see peer-to-peer file sharing software as an excellent distribution mechanism for Creative Commons works, especially large music, picture, and movie files that the authors might not have the bandwidth or tools necessary to distribute themselves. Search systems could allow users the choice of only searching for files with licenses that permit certain uses (such as searching for pictures of cats that you can include in your non-commercial collage). There are many ways to take advantage of this information and we hope the developer community will surprise us by coming up with others!
I'd prefer to use a PNG image instead of a GIF image or vice versa. What should I do?
We provide older license buttons in both formats. Change, e.g., somerights20.gif to somerights20.png or vice versa.
Newer license buttons that include license property icons are only available in PNG format.
Questions about using Creative Commons' logo
Where can I get a high resolution version of the Creative Commons logos?
You can get high resolution versions of the Creative Commons logos and license buttons here. Creative Commons only authorizes the use of our logos, name and license buttons in accordance with our policies.
I want to print out some t-shirts & stickers with Creative Commons logos; how do I go about doing this?
We're glad you are excited about Creative Commons and want to spread the message. We only authorize use of our logo, name and license buttons in accordance with our policies, ie. to linkback to the Creative Commons website, a Creative Commons license and / or otherwise describe a Creative Commons license that applies to a work.
You can support Creative Commons and purchase t-shirts and stickers via our store. In addition, movies about Creative Commons are available for download here.
I want to incorporate the Creative Commons logos into my site or work, can I?
You are welcome to incorporate the Creative Commons logos into your site or work if you do so in accordance with our policies page. Basically, we only authorize use of the Creative Commons corporate logo (that is the name Creative Commons and the "CC" in a circle) to link back to our website; and our "Some Rights Reserved" and "No Rights Reserved" buttons as well as our license element buttons (ie. the Attribution license button, the NonCommercial license button etc.) to be used to link back to our respective licenses.
Can I change the Creative Commons logos so that they look better on my site or with my work?
Please don't change our logo so that it works better with the look of your site or work. Our "Some Rights Reserved" and "No Rights Reserved" buttons need to be used consistently because they are our trademark and a core part of our licensing system. You can also use the license elements buttons that are in black and white to signal that your work or site is licensed under the relevant Creative Commons license; this is also explained at our policies page.
About Creative Commons
Is Creative Commons against copyright?
Not at all. Our licenses help you retain your copyright and manage your copyright in a more flexible, open way. In fact, our licenses rely upon copyright for their enforcement. The justification for intellectual property protection (under U.S. law, at least) is the "promot[ion of] the progress of science and the useful arts." We want to promote science and the useful arts, too, and believe that helping creators or licensors fine-tune the exercise of their rights to suit their preferences helps do just that.
Is Creative Commons building a database of licensed content?
Absolutely not. We believe in the Net, not an information bank controlled by a single organization. We are building tools so that the semantic web can identify and sort licensed works in a distributed, decentralized manner. We are not in the business of collecting content, or building databases of content.
Now, to give you an idea of the sorts of uses that can be made of our licenses and metadata, we've provided some examples on our site for text, audio, images, video and educational works. It's by no means a comprehensive catalog of everything being done with Creative Commons licenses today, nor is it the beginnings of a database. They are simply illustrations of some works, in a variety of media, that have been Creative Commons licensed so far.
Will works that use Creative Commons licenses be in the "public domain"?
No, because the licensor does not give up all rights to his or her work. The Creative Commons licenses are only copyright licenses that enable you to control how other people use your work.
If you want to put your work in the public domain—the realm of creative material unfettered by copyright law—you can use our public domain waiver, CC0. By dedicating your work to the public domain, you are effectively relinquishing all copyright interests you may otherwise have in the work. See the CC0 FAQ for further details.
What is Creative Commons?
Structurally, Creative Commons is a Massachusetts, US, US charitable corporation. Also working to promote the idea of Creative Commons are volunteer project leads in each of the jurisdictions to which Creative Commons licenses have been ported. Creative Commons International and the volunteer project leads are independent and separate entities although both work in collaboration to promote the adoption of Creative Commons licenses and tools.
The idea underlying Creative Commons is that some people may not want to exercise all of the intellectual property rights the law affords them. We believe there is an unmet demand for an easy yet reliable way to tell the world "Some rights reserved" or even "No rights reserved." Many people have long since concluded that all-out copyright doesn't help them gain the exposure and widespread distribution they want. Many entrepreneurs and artists have come to prefer relying on innovative business models rather than full-fledged copyright to secure a return on their creative investment. Still others get fulfillment from contributing to and participating in an intellectual commons. For whatever reasons, it is clear that many citizens of the Internet want to share their work—and the power to reuse, modify, and distribute their work—with others on generous terms. Creative Commons intends to help people express this preference for sharing by offering the world a set of licenses on our Website, at no charge.
Who started Creative Commons?
Cyberlaw and intellectual property experts James Boyle, Michael Carroll, and Lawrence Lessig, MIT computer science professor Hal Abelson, lawyer-turned-documentary filmmaker-turned-cyberlaw expert Eric Saltzman, and public domain Web publisher Eric Eldred founded Creative Commons in 2001. Fellows and students at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School helped get the project off the ground and, for the first couple of years of its existence, Creative Commons was housed at and received generous support from Stanford Law School and the Center for Internet & Society.
What problem does Creative Commons intend to solve?
With the advent of the digital revolution and the Internet, it is suddenly possible to distribute works in a variety of formats of a high, often professional quality; to work collaboratively across contexts; and to create new, derivative or collective works—on a global level, in a decentralised manner, and at comparatively low cost.
This presents an opportunity for an enormous and unprecedented stimulation of creativity and production of knowledge. As more and more people are interconnected and communicating, it becomes easier to obtain exactly the content one needs or want and to complete tasks and solve problems by the cooperation this interconnection enables. The convergence of technologies and media also create multiple new possibilities for creating derivatives of existing works—for example, remixes and mashups.
Another notable aspect is that globalization is not only happening on the corporate level, its effects can also be observed in the areas of science and education and in other sectors of society where new models of fruitful cooperation have appeared. The free encyclopedia Wikipedia and the free and open source software community are examples of these sociological and economic phenomena. The activities of many contributors to projects in these areas are not motivated by the desire to gain (immediate) financial benefit but by the desire to learn, to get recognition, and also to help others.
The downside of these exciting new developments and possibilities is that the new technologies can also be used to violate the rights of copyright owners as they are currently defined. In turn, major right holders have reacted to this by a fourfold strategy: (a) by trying to prevent the deployment of technologies that can be put to infringing uses; (b) by developing tools that enable them to manage their rights with an amount of precision hitherto unknown and unthinkable: digital rights management and technological protection measures against unauthorised copying; (c) by successfully lobbying for support of these technological measures through legal restrictions; and, (d) by starting huge publicity campaigns designed to teach young people that they must keep their hands off copyrighted material - or else.
These responses are understandable, if regrettable. Our concern is that their combined effect will be to stifle the opportunities for digital technologies to be used widely to encourage creativity and for the problem-solving and collaboration discussed above. If creators and licensors have to negotiate not only complicated legal rules, but also burdensome technical barriers, many will either ignore the rules or not create.
Our alternative is to provide creators and licensors with a simple way to say what freedoms they want their creative work to carry. This in turn makes it easy to share, or build upon creative work. It makes it possible for creators and licensors to reserve some rights while releasing others. This, at its core, is our mission. Copyright gives authors certain rights. We want to make it simpler for authors to exercise those rights in ways others can understand.
Does it cost me anything to use the Creative Commons licenses & tools?
Nope. They're free.
Who funds Creative Commons?
Creative Commons was built with and is sustained by the generous support of organizations including the Center for the Public Domain, Omidyar Network, The Rockefeller Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, as well as members of the public. We continue to seek donations from other sources, including foundations, individuals, and government grants. If you would like to support Creative Commons, feel free to do so at our support page.
Whom does Creative Commons serve or represent?
Creative Commons serves creators and users of creative works and the public interest that benefits from greater collaboration using creative materials. We help people who want to license their work on generous terms, people who want to make creative uses of those works, and people who benefit from this symbiosis. We hope that teachers, scholars, scientists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, graphic designers, Web hobbyists—as well as listeners, readers, and viewers—gain from the use of our tools.
Where is Creative Commons based?
Creative Commons Corporation is a Massachusetts corporation that draws on the work of geographically distributed staff and volunteers. Our main offices are in San Francisco and Boston in the United States and Berlin in Germany. See our contact page.
Does Creative Commons host or own any content?
Our primary mission is to help you license your work, offer you tools to more easily publish your works, and point to examples of CC-licensed content from our featured works. We also offer ways for users to find licensed works and easily understand their license terms.
We do, however, also host content on its ccMixter site.
Is Creative Commons involved in digital rights management (DRM)?
No. We are in the business of digital rights expression, not management. Our tools make it easy to say what rights an author is reserving. But we do not provide tools for enforcing the rights the author reserves. Digital rights management (or "DRM") does. In addition to digitally expressing rights, a DRM system provides technology for enforcing those rights.
Why don't we use technology to enforce rights? There are too many reasons to describe here. Perhaps the most familiar is the fact that technology cannot protect freedoms such as "fair use." Put differently, "fair use" can't be coded. But more importantly, we believe, technological enforcement burdens unplanned creative reuse of creative work. We want to encourage such use. And we, along with many others, are concerned that the ecology for creativity will be stifled by the pervasive use of technology to "manage" rights.
Copyrights should be respected, no doubt. But we prefer they be respected the old fashioned way—by people acting to respect the freedoms, and limits, chosen by the author and enforced by the law.
What happens if someone tries to restrict a CC-licensed work with digital rights management (DRM) tools?
If a person uses DRM tools to restrict any of the rights granted in the license, that person violates the license. All of our licenses prohibit licensees from "impos(ing) any effective technological measures on the Work that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License."
Encryption or an access limitation is not necessarily a technical protection measure prohibited by the licenses. For example, content sent via email and encrypted with the recipient's public key does not restrict use of the Work by the recipient. Likewise, limiting recipients to a set of users (e.g., with a username and password) does not restrict use of the Work by the recipients.
In the cases above, encryption or an access limitation is not incompatible with the prohibition on DRM because the recipient is not prevented from exercising all rights granted by the license (including rights of further redistribution). If, however, encryption is implemented in such as way as to prevent the recipient from exercising any right granted by the license, then that would constitute a violation of this provision.

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