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How do You Protect Your Intellectual (or not so intellectual) Property?

Are any Smoosiers using the Creative Commons licensure (the first one listed above)? It is a free and extremely user friendly licensing service that simply states—anyone can copy my ideas and words as long as they give me credit for it.

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry."

I wonder if it will stand up in a court of law.

Views: 12

Comment by Amy Stark on July 29, 2008 at 7:04pm
12 Comments were added over 48 hours

Comment by Mike Seidle 1 day ago
Amy - You may want to ask an attorney or one of the people on the creative commons forum about that. CC's all over the internet.

Comment by Amy Stark 1 day ago
I use creative commons specifically so I DON"T have to talk to an attorney =)
But you are right, Mike, it is a question for an expert.

I was just wondering if any other Smoosiers had experience with using it, or if there were other options that made sense.

Comment by Matthew Schantz 1 day ago

This is a good question to ask, Amy. There are certainly risks to using CC material, but I think they're better risks than with many other arrangements by which you use content created by others. The fact that the terms in CC licenses are standardized helps you know much more easily what you'd be getting into than in a general license negotiation.

If talking to an attorney is something you work to avoid, you might be setting yourself up for trouble. If you try to be efficient with the time spent with an attorney, I think you'll be much better off generally. CC licensing will let you talk with an attorney once to get an understanding of those standard terms without consulting him or her for every license negotiation.

These are just my thoughts, not those of my firm or clients, and not legal advice to be applied to any particular person or situation.

Comment by Ernest Rando 1 day ago
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Comment by Ernest Rando 1 day ago
The above video i posted is not really an answer on how to protect intellectual property but an interesting viewpoint on where our culture is headed in regards to how the world uses "Copies". Larry Lessig is a lawyer and a proponent of Creative Common Liscensing and an advocate for laws that make sense.

Comment by Amy Stark 1 day ago
Hey Ernest-- I am so glad you posted this TED Talk. I first learned about Creative Commons from TED, and started using it because of my trust in the concept.

Mark Twain said, "Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet." The intellectual property laws currently in place restrict the flow of ideas. I like the grassroots feel to Creative Commons, if your idea is good enough it will spread from the bottom up. Thanks again, Ernest.

I know intuitive insight is not a good basis for selecting a way to keep people from infringing upon ideas or words. That is why I am thrilled there are experts, such as patent attorneys, who can navigate those choppy waters.

Comment by Amy Stark 1 day ago
Hey Matthew--Your post raised several interesting questions in my mind and I will have to "cogitate" before responding.

On a side note, I wrote a thesis last year about "Giving Laughter and its Potential to Spread Human Happiness." In my research, I realized there were two occupations that -historically and consistently- have been socially acceptable to poke fun at: lawyers and politicians.

Please don't infer from my reply to Mike that I avoid attorneys. It was my lame attempt at humor. I'll bet you know several good attorney jokes.

Comment by Amy Stark 1 day ago
Matthew-- I am intrigued by the fact you added a CYA statement to your post, it made me smile for some reason.

Let me re-cap what you typed in your first paragraph—“Creative Commons is risky, but there are worse options out there. CC can be helpful because it’s user-friendly and the language is straightforward.” Is that a fair assessment of your thoughts? Does that mean that CC can be used as a baby step toward traditional licensure?

In my amateur perspective, intellectual property laws are in place to protect your idea, so that someday you may be able to reap monetary rewards for your efforts. As a result I.P. Laws erect hurdles that restrict access to an audience. Is it not in your best interest to have as many people know about the idea as possible?

The fact that CC welcomes people to build on ideas really appeals to me. I WANT people to share my words and ideas, and-- if the idea is good enough--it will attract other people who agree. When the groundswell of support reaches critical mass, a publisher will see the benefit of printing it, which will introduce the idea to an even larger audience. That’s where I think Creative Commerce shines; the only hurdle to using an idea is to give credit where credit is due.

I really appreciate your post, Matthew, because I know very little about intellectual property rights. I am thankful there are people, like you, who make it their business to understand how all this works.

Comment by Noah Coffey 1 day ago
One of the first sessions at Blog Indiana this August is talking about this topic specifically. The session is called Legal Issues in Blogging and is lead by Andrew Paradies of

Here is a snippet of the description of what will be covered:
There will also be a discussion about Creative Commons – what it means, the different licenses and how they apply to use of content in blogs. Finally, the session will cover your rights and potential courses of action as a blogger when your content is misused.

Read more here...

Comment by Amy Stark 1 day ago
Are there still tickets available to the Blogging Indiana Conference? I want to better understand this issue.

I mentioned the conference to several of my blogging friends, but had not decided until this minute to spend the money to attend. You sold me, Noah =) Thanks for the post.

Comment by John R.(Dick) Troll 21 hours ago

To answer your specific question: will a creative commons license stand up in a court of law? The answer is of course it will! If you wanted to use a part of someone else's work of authorship you would be perfectly free to do so- so long as you complied with the terms of the creative commons license. But the mainstream producers of creative works do not subscribe to the creative commons POV.
There has been a tension between authors- using the term in a very broad sense- and publishers for as long as the law has tried to protect works of creativity. Similarly, technological advances- starting with movable type- have also strained the legal doctrines that purport to advance the creative process,
But the digital age has challenged copyright law in new and more difficult ways. Sampling and unlimited copying of digital files- audio or video- are but two examples. More fundamentally there is a deep sense that it simply is NOT wrong for me to make a copy of your photo, music file or video since I am not depriving you of your copy. God fearing folks who would never take money from the cash register think nothing of making a copy of their favorite Jimmy Buffett song.
US copyright law exists to so that an author or musician will be encouraged to produce creative works. They get rewarded for a specific time period and then their works should be available for all to use. But there is perception by many that the current copyright regime is so protective of those who already own rights that it actually stifles creativity. Similarly, from one perspective, the film industry and the music industry are like buggy whip makers after the car became popular. They desperately seek to preserve a business model that has become obsolete.

Comment by Amy Stark 3 hours ago
The film and music industry are not the only buggy-whips out there, I can assure you. Thanks for the new phrase, by the way. Do you want me to quote you if I use it?

I really appreciate your reply, John. I learned so much from this dialog. Every comment encouraged me to "cogitate" before typing a response, and it was fun.

You typed a sentence that jumped off my screen:

"US copyright law exists to so that an author or musician will be encouraged to produce creative works."

WOW. That is a powerful statement. Wouldn't that sentence be an ideal argument to support the legality of Creative Commons?

Smaller Indiana is such a wonderful resource for ideas and knowledge. It is not likely this dialog between me and you--and Matthew and Ernest-- would have ever occurred without SI.

Thanks again for your comment.
Comment by Amy Stark on July 29, 2008 at 7:07pm
Here is the video Ernest posted on Smaller Indiana.


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