This is the "Overview" page of the "Copyright, Copyleft, and the Creative Commons: Intellectual Property and Learning" guide.
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Copyright, Copyleft, and the Creative Commons: Intellectual Property and Learning   Tags: copyleft, copyright, creative commons, intellectual property, licenses, search tools  

Last Updated: May 21, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Overview Print Page

Intellectual Property and Learning


An overview of copyright law...

The first United States copyright laws were implemented by Congress in 1790, by our founding fathers.  The original copyright law (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution) gave Congress the authority to "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for a limited time to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their writings and discoveries."  That law gave these creators the right to print, re-print, publish and distribute their work for a period of just 14 years. Works were only protected if the creator registred them.  

  • In 1976, copyright law was expanded to include all published works, regardless of medium,  and the copyright was extended to the life of the creator, plus 50 years.  Registration was no longer required and renewal of copyright was allowed.  Concepts of fair use were applied to education and to critical review. 
  • In 1988, the U.S. signed onto the Berne Convention, which extended and protected copyrights outside of the United States.
  • In 1998, copyrights were extended by another 20 years, and for the first time the new laws were applied to works created prior to the date the law went into effect. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 prohibited gaining unauthorized access to a work by circumventing technological protections put in place by the copyright owner.  

Understanding the Licenses

Creative commons licenses are claimed and applied by the creator, according to the guidelines set down by the Creative Commons, "a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools."  The elements of the license allow considerable freedom to the creator with regards to how a creative work can be used, distributed, or modified.

One initiative within the the Creative Commons is working to establish the Founders Copyright. The owner of a copyright sells the copyright to Creative Commons for $1, which in turn provides the owner with an exclusive license for 14 or 28 years, as dictated by the original U.S.  copyright laws of 1790.  The Creative Commons lists these works, along with the year they will enter public domain, in an online registry. 


Build on the Past...


Creative Commons Search Tools

Search bar makes it really easy to find the images with the share features you need.  Their "Image Stamper" will allow you to prove your right to use them.

Super fast image search engine that lets you all images or just those with creative commons license.

Let's CC
Search images, sound, videos, documents.  Every thing published to the Creative Commons.

This tool not only searches the commons, but it provides you with the code that youuse on your website to generate attribution links.



Creative Common "Choose a License" Widget
Use this simple tool to build your own license for application to your work.
Creative Commons Licenses: Some Rights Reserved
This is a great, printable infographic to hang near your creative studio!


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