Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others to legally build upon and share.
The Creative Commons website enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others, through a variety of licensing and contract schemes, which may include dedication to the public domain or open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems which current copyright laws create for the sharing of information.
The project provides several free licenses that copyright holders can use when they release their works on the web. They also provide RDF/XML metadata that describes the license and the work to make it easier to automatically process and locate licensed works. They also provide a 'Founder's Copyright'  contract, intended to re-create the effects of the original U.S. Copyright created by the founders of the U.S. Constitution.
Creative Commons was officially launched in 2001. Lawrence Lessig, the founder and chairman of Creative Commons, started the organization as an additional method of achieving the goals of his Supreme Court case, Eldred v. Ashcroft. The initial set of Creative Commons licenses was published on December 16, 2002.  The project was honored with the Golden Nica Award at the Prix Ars Electronica in the category "Net Vision" in 2004.
The main Creative Commons licenses are written with the U.S. legal model in mind, and therefore the wording may not mesh perfectly with existing law in other countries. Using the U.S. model without regard to local law could render the licenses unenforceable, so the iCommons (International Commons) project intends to fine-tune the Creative Commons legal wording to the specifics of individual countries. As of August 24, 2004, representatives from 21 countries and regions have joined this initiative.
A collection of essays, in English, French and German, on the use of Creative Commons licenses in Europe is available from the French project.
Projects and works using Creative Commons licenses
Several million pages of web content use Creative Commons licenses. A very incomplete catalogue is available.
Examples of projects and works which are mentioned elsewhere on Wikipedia include:
- The fiction of Cory Doctorow
- Professor Lessig's 2004 book, Free Culture (the first CC-licensed book released by a major mainstream publisher, Penguin Books)
- MoveOn.org's Bush In 30 Seconds contest (See History of MoveOn.org)
- MIT OpenCourseWare - academic course syllabi
- Bob Powell Anthology
- Three of Eric S. Raymond's books, The Cathedral and the Bazaar (the first complete and commercially released book under a CC license, published by O'Reilly & Associates), The New Hacker's Dictionary, and The Art of Unix Programming (all three with added proviso)
- Wil Wheaton's blog WWdN, and his two books Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek
- The Wired CD; created by Creative Commons in cooperation with Wired Magazine, the Beastie Boys, Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, etc.
- Public Library of Science
- Bitzi Bitpedia (digital media encyclopedia)
Some further examples of a potentially-enormous list of Creative Commons-licensed sites include:
- The Oyez Project MP3 files of hearings in the United States Supreme Court
- Olde English Sketch Comedy
- Gentoo Linux (Documentation Resources)
- Remix Reading UK local remixing project
- Boing Boing: a Directory of Wonderful Things
- Frequently-rotated showcase of South African CC sites
- Creative Commons in Scottish law
- Connexions - academic course modules, hosted by Rice University
Tools for discovering CC-licensed content
- The creativecommons.org website
- A short Flash animation describing Creative Commons
- International Commons: Creative Commons initiatives outside the United States
- BBC to Open Content Floodgates The BBC's Creative Archive project
- Creative Commons: Let’s be creative together (Framasoft)
- Remix Group on Flickr - imaginative reuses of Creative Commons images
- Yahoo Creative Commons Search
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