Posted by: Staff | 04.04.2008

Creative Commons: Some Wrongs Reversed

TOPH TUCKER ‘08

Here’s something you may not know: every piece of work produced is automatically protected by full copyright law. Every piece, including this newspaper—until now.

With the rise of modern computers and the internet, so too has the world seen a boom in sharing, collaboration, remixing… and copyright infringement. Every Beaver student has probably gotten the plagiarism talk at least half a dozen times, and we all know how Google and the web make it more tempting than ever to just copy and paste whole chunks of work done by other people. And we know how that’s wrong. And it is.

But life is not a history paper. When you’re talking, not about the serious study of the rise and fall of civilizations, but about a movie you saw the other day, doesn’t copyright law seem like overkill? Another thing you may not know: no matter how well you format your MLA citations, you’re only allowed to quote so much before it goes beyond “fair use.” So while emailing your friend a link to a review is fine, emailing the whole review—even if you also include a link—may technically be illegal.

What if that’s more strict than even the creator wanted? Enter Creative Commons. It’s meant to fill the gap between All Rights Reserved and no rights reserved, between full copyright and the public domain. And starting today, The Beaver Reader is being published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Basically, readers are allowed to share and remix our work as much as they want, just as long as they give us credit and don’t impose harsher restrictions on any work they base on our work.

It’s not as if it will make a big difference; it’s not as if anyone can track whether people are copying our work or giving us credit anyway. So from a reader perspective, almost nothing has changed. It’s as much a gesture as anything else. We support a culture where information flows freely. And by ending each page with “Some,” not All, “Rights Reserved,” perhaps we have reversed some wrongs.

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Responses

  1. Congratulations to The Beaver Reader for a well reasoned decision! I applaud you.

    A loyal reader


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