Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On the Usage of Creative Commons Licenses in Publishing

Sharing two recent mentions of our use of Creative Commons licenses :

On opensource.com, Subhashish Panigrahi talks about relicensing of books to Creative Commons licenses :

It generally takes a long time and much effort to negotiate with copyright holders for relicensing material as Creative Commons. But, when we do negotiate it, and win, the content is a permanent and valuable addition to open knowledge and the movement. 

So far, authors might be avoiding open licensing because:
  • They think it might put them out of business because others could plagiarize and republish their work without attribution.
  • They think if they will lose ownership of the content due to the nature of open licenses, which allow reuse.
Open licensing should be important to authors because as more readers and reviewers get access to their books and other online content, the visibility of their work increases, allowing them to gain more respect and popularity. This can, in turn, help authors sell more of the reprints.

The "one book in every child's hand" campaign by Pratham Books was an initiative by a large publisher to license Indian langage books with a CC BY-SA license. The campaign's mission was to provide access to knowledge and good quality education of native Indian languages to students whose families cannot bear educational costs. Pratham Books gained a lot of attention globally and the campaign proved to be a sustainable model for publishers and free licenses.


The Times of India also carried an article giving examples of the usage of Creative Commons licenses by different organizations and professionals.

"Sharing", under a CC Licence, resonates with the free knowledge movement. A growing tribe of publishers, musicians, photographers and academics is choosing to share their work for free.

Every CC licence ensures that creators get the credit for their work. But it need not be a free-for-all situation - there are six variations of licensing permutations possible such as 'share-alike', 'non-commercial', and 'no derivatives'. 

Pratham Books, a Bangalore-based publisher, continues to use CC licences for its children books. "Traditional publishers thought we were crazy," says Gautam John, adviser, Pratham Books. But use of CC licences has surpassed Pratham's expectations of reaching out to children. "We are getting new readers with every book in the public domain," says John. The 500 titles with CC licences, in fact, outsell the rest.


Take a look at our CC Tracker to see how CC licenses have allowed for the creation of several derivatives across mediums.

Image Source : Dennis Skley

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