creativecommonsNobody likes copycats and plagiarism, but you should balance the pro and cons of copyright infringements carefully not to be left out in our “sharing” content world.

As Bernadette Coleman recently wrote in an interesting article, “the most obvious pro is that a copyright may protect a work from plagiarism and helps ensure that the creator gets credit. A copyright sign on an article signals to others that they should not use the work without permission. That’s especially important now that Google and other search engines penalize duplicate content. If someone steals your article, and worse yet, alters it with unsuitable information, your once-excellent blog post could be considered spam.” On the other hand, she states, “a copyright can also be counter-productive as you want your content to get shared as well on social media, recommending therefore to make use of Creative Commons (CC) Licenses, which are free of charge licenses that content creators can attach to their works to tell others how and if they want to share their work.

Google, Flickr, Wikipedia, or even Al Jazeera and the, for instance, are all using the Creative Commons copyright licenses, which are basically six copyright options that are all irrevocable and require the content creator be credited, giving everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work.

The six basic licenses are:

  1. Attribution: This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
  2. Attribution-ShareAlike: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
  3. Attribution-No Derivatives: This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
  4. Attribution-NonCommercial: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives: This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Of course, you can place your work in the public domain as well and allow to use your work freely, as no intellectual property rights are attached that way.

The Creative Commons (CC) website not only explains each license in detail, but provides the code that can be inserted in a user’s website metadata so that search engines recognize the license, besides providing many tips and support on how to employ CC licensed work that you wish to use.

It’s now clear that there are several legal issues you need to know - not only to not break copyright laws but also to protect your own copyrighted material and the integrity of your content. So, please consider copyright law restrictions when creating your next content marketing campaign to show honesty to build trust and loyalty. Part of that is to stay away from using copyrighted images you don’t own or haven’t purchased.

By MediaBUZZ