Creative Commons, a nonprofit company founded in 2001, in order to promote an easy, accessible and standardized way to share and remix content freely, allows creators to label their creations as to how they agree to allow others to use them. When owners add a Creative Commons license to their works, it eliminates the need for users to contact creators, in order to use their works.
US Copyright Law is currently governed by the Copyright Law of 1976, which was passed long before internet use became a common practice and accessible to most everyone. Although there have been amendments and clarifications of provisions, (see Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States), parties invested in the issue of copyright and society's use of media believe that Copyright Law and Fair Use Guidelines need to be significantly updated and clarified. However competing parties make changes difficult. Those in favor of user's Interests believe that a less restrictive law provides for a digital creativity, productivity and innovation. Those in favor of the copyright holder's interests, believe that a stricter law is necessary because of the the ease of access created by the internet.
The Question Someone always seems to ask
Whenever I'm sharing information about Copyright, the question I get asked most often is: "If they didn't want us to use it, why did they put it on the internet?"
The creator or owner of a creation has the right to post their creation to the internet making it freely available for everyone to view, listen to etc; that is their choice and they are choosing how and where their creation is posted. However, when others use those creations without permission, for example posting it on their own website, they are acting as if they own it. Here's an example to illustrate this concept. Many students give our school permission to use their photos on our school website. Do other organizations or persons have the right to copy and paste student photos from the school's website to use on their own websites without asking for permission? How would you feel if you saw your photo somewhere on the web that was put there without your knowledge?