Friday, April 21, 2006

[Rights] Copyrights, Reserved Rights, and Creative Commons


This is another gritty legal question.

Does anyone have any advice about how to claim the copyright to your blog? I know that many bloggers have a Creative Commons license, while many others (more and more, I think) are simply asserting "All Rights Reserved" on their sites. My general understanding (though the vagueness of my knowledge is anxiety provoking) is that I am automatically the holder of the copyright for my own work and I am therefore protected against others illegally reproducing it without my permission. However, making some kind of statement about my rights on the site would no doubt be safer and more professional in the ever informal world of blogging.

A Creative Commons license seems like a good option, since it actually encourages other people to make use of my work, instead of restricting them. What have other people's experiences with these licenses been? Pros? Cons? Effectiveness? Also, I got a bit lost in the six different licenses that are on offer. Any comments on whether a more restrictive or more loose license works better?

And, of course, there's the "All Rights Reserved" option. I have two questions about this. Have you guys (either using it yourself or finding it on other blogs) found this kind of copyright claiming to be helpful or hurtful? And do I simply "reserve" my rights by printing the aforementioned phrase on my site, or do I need to officially register with the US Copyright Office?

Any thoughts? All of you comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

This Post was written by Emily Stone from Chocolate in Context


Pamela said...

Have a look at this article, it may help

Sam said...

great question - which exactly paraphrases my own confusion on this matter. Lets hope together we can get to the bottom of this. Off to read the link above now...

Kevin said...

First, simply by publishing something you've written you have established a copyright in it.

Second, a copyright will do nothing to prevent someone from using your content. If you publish online eventually you will be plaigerized to some degree.

Third, asserting a copyright on your blog doesn't alter the above facts.

That said, I use the Creative Commons license, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs. Which means anyone can use my content provided they state it's my content, don't attempt to make money off of it, and don't create a derivative work from it.

From a practical standpoint this is "bowing gracefully to the inevitable." I could "reserve all rights," but unless I'm prepared to start sueing people for infringement it's nonsense. However, I've also served notice that if you try making money off of something I created I may well sue.

Emily Stone said...

Very interesting. Thanks, everyone!