(cc) creative commons
Featured Commoner:
Rick Prelinger

"My images are achieving a level of spread and penetration I could never do on my own. Ubiquity equals value…you can make money by giving things away."

Over the past twenty years, Rick Prelinger has collected more than 75,000 films dating between 1903 and the early 1980s.

We met with Rick to discuss the role of public domain works in the world of creativity -- a timely chat indeed, as the Prelinger Archives were recently acquired by the Library of Congress. Read the complete interview here.
Creative Commons promotes the innovative reuse of all sorts of intellectual works. Our first project is to offer the public a set of copyright licenses free of charge.

These licenses will help you tell others that your works are free for copying and other uses -- but only on certain conditions.

You're probably familiar with the phrase, "All rights reserved," and the little (c) that goes along with it. Creative Commons wants to help copyright holders send a different message: "Some rights reserved."

For example, if you don't mind people copying and distributing your online image so long as they give you credit, we'll have a license that helps you say so. If you want people to copy your band's MP3 but don't want them to profit off it without your permission, use one of our licenses to express that preference. Our licensing tools will even help you mix and match such preferences from a menu of options:

Attribution Attribution. Permit others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and derivative works based upon it only if they give you credit.

Noncommercial Noncommercial. Permit others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and derivative works based upon it only for noncommercial purposes.

No Derivative Works No Derivative Works. Permit others to copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based upon it.

Copyleft Copyleft. Permit others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

When you've made your choices, you'll get the appropriate license expressed in three ways:

1. Commons Deed. A simple, plain-language summary of the license, complete with the relevant icons.

2. Legal Code. The fine print that you need to be sure the license will stand up in court.

3. Digital Code. A machine-readable translation of the license that helps search engines and other applications identify your work by its terms of use.

If you prefer to dedicate your work to the public domain, where nothing is owned and all is permitted, we'll help you do that, too. In other words, we'll help you declare, "No rights reserved."

The licenses are due for public release in Autumn 2002.

Read more to learn about our broader mission and other endeavors.