The move to Creative Commons license for blog posts

It has been my intention for some time to move my blog posts to Creative Commons license and that is now in progress (with blog posts being retro edited in the content).

Most I have discussed it with asked two questions: Why and Which license? So this post will try to answer both.

Why

The why is the easy part. With no explicit license on a post there sometimes is ambiguity on what someone can do with the content. Most realise what no specified license means, but some do not and feel that anything online is fair game for re-use. Probably 99% of people who copied the content attribute, but there was a small minority who probably in ignorance took the post or part of and did not attribute.

So this way, I am clearly informing that it is totally okay to take the content, translate it, excerpt it, print it, recite it backwards and so on as long as the chosen license is followed. It would also be nice to know where it gets used too, but that is optional.

So which license?

I have read many posts, listened to podcasts, watched videos, read slides  on the benefits of different licenses for content for sharing, and well, a few points were common.

All carry the basic Attribution aspect, that the user must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. This is nice and basically follows the concept of citations, so this is why I went for Creative Commons in the first place. In my case, it will be referencing my name and the website url beside the included content. There is a good page on this on creativecommons.org  http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Marking/Users

The one aspect I liked instantly was the ShareAlike aspect which requires that anyone who uses the content, must subsequently license their content in the same manner with the specific license. So this was in.

The Non Commercial restricts the distribution of the content but to what purpose and to what extent? It is also something of a debate as to what non-commercial means.  Are fee paying institutions commercial or non commercial. What difference is a university using a Creative Commons item or a training company? So I ruled out this option as something too confusing and really not helpful in my case.

The No Derivatives Works option is something that I also felt unnecessary in the case of the content. Where only a piece of the post, or paper, or review may be useful it does not make sense to stop people from altering, transforming, or building upon the work. So I ruled out this option on this basis.

So that is how I came to decide that the license I will use is the Attribution ShareAlike  or  CC BY-SA.

The Creative Commons website describes this license as follows:

“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.”  (from http://creativecommons.org/licenses/)

There are options for other licensing arrangements, just contact me with any requests.

Implementation

In theory there are a number of options, such as using a plugin, a block, or changing the theme, but in the end I decided on a manual option. Although there are some old plugins for adding the item to every post and RSS feed item, I could not find one that was up-to-date. I did not want to add a text block to make everything on the site covered, as there may be occasions I will include something that can’t be the CC BY-SA open license that I wish to use. So the only way that I found was the manually add in the text to every new post and old one. Which means I will be going backwards to apply the text in the old posts.

So go ahead, use the posts which get the CC BY-SA added if you want in your training materials, just make sure that the attribution is clearly on the same page / slide as the content used and that your resource is also CC BY-SA licensed. If you are unsure about your usage, just ask and I can help clarify.

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Gavin Henrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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