Creative Commons FAQ

 

How do I apply a Creative Commons® license to my work?

First select the license that suits your preferences. A piece of code and a link to the license text will be sent to your e-mail address. The license is automatically attached to the Theseus site describing your work. In addition to this, it is also good to attach the e-mailed license text to, e.g., the first pages of your work. This notifies the people who find your work from places other than the Theseus service of your work being licensed under the applicable Creative Commons license. If you apply the Creative Commons license to your work’s metadata code, search engines will also understand that you are willing to share your work under the Creative Commons license.

 

Can I apply a Creative Commons license to an offline work?

Yes. Attach the license link and the name of the license to the first pages of your work. If you wish, you may also print a summary of the license text to the pages.

 

How does a Creative Commons license operate?

A Creative Commons (CC) license is based on copyright laws. The author automatically has the right to deny others from copying or sharing the work. However, often this is not the author’s intention. The author may even wish that the work spreads as widely as possible in blogs and news groups. To enable this, it is necessary for the author to inform others of their wishes. CC licenses enable the author to dictate how others may use the work with the aid of copyrights. In the CC website authors can tailor a suitable license and apply it to their work.

 

It is possible to, for example, dictate that the work may be shared unaltered noncommercially. If this license is used, a commercial party must ask the permission of the author to use the work. On the other hand, noncommercial parties are not obliged to request permission. The author reserves the right to make agreements with commercial parties, whereas the noncommercial use and sharing of the work is simpler.

 

What things should I think about before I apply a CC license to my work?

Make sure that you own all the rights to your work. For example, music videos often have several copyright owners. Director, composer, performer and actors are all copyright owners. You must have permission from all of them to license the work.

 

 Licenses are given for the duration of the copyright. You cannot change your mind after giving the license. You do not have to share the work and thus it may not be shared to the public. However, you cannot prevent those, who already have a license, from sharing it with the CC license.

 

Be clear about what you are licensing. You may, for example, license only the pictures and text in a book. Remember to declare which elements the license is applied to. If you only declare that the work is CC licensed, it is assumed that the license applies to the whole work and to all elements of the work separately.

 

Being a member of a collecting society may set restrictions to licensing. If you are a member of Teosto or Gramex, you have given your rights to them. Because of this, you cannot decide on the licensing yourself. Thus, you may not license the works managed by the organisations with CC licenses.

 

Can I use Creative Commons licenses for software I've created myself?

Yes. However, licenses better suited for software do exist. More information on these licenses can be found at Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative sites.

 

Can I use Creative Commons licenses for software documentation?

Yes. Creative Commons licenses work well for all text materials.

 

What if I want to use two different CC licenses to license my work?

This can also be done. This gives the public a choice between the licenses.

 

What if someone violates my copyrights or does not comply with the terms of the license?

Copyrights protect the author, even if the work has been CC licensed. If the user does not comply with the terms of the license, and for example, does not mention the author’s name in the dictated manner, the license ceases to remain in effect. After this the user is in violation of copyrights. Copyright violations are criminalised in the criminal law. Copyright violations are complainant offences, which means that the copyright owner must seek punishment for the violator. The police will investigate the matter after being notified. If the police suspect that a crime has taken place, the case is given to the prosecutor. Copyright violations can also be tried as civil cases, in which case the copyright owner does not have the help of the police or the prosecutor.

 

Does Creative Commons or Theseus help me to guard my copyrights?

No. The author is responsible for guarding their copyrights. If you believe that someone is violating your CC licensed work, you can contact the Finnish Creative Commons. They may help you in finding a competent copyright lawyer who understands Creative Commons. However, Creative Commons, Arene or Theseus do not offer legal services.

 

I have given permission to adapt my work. However, I don’t like the way it has been adapted. What can I do?

If you do not like the way your work has been adapted or the context of the adapted work, you may ask for your name to be removed from the work. If the work has been adapted in a way violating the author's literary or artistic value or originality, or has been made available to the public in a context or way violating the author's rights in the aforementioned manners, the author may prevent the use of the work in this purpose, even if the license states otherwise. This only applies to exceptional circumstances. These exceptional circumstances can be, for example, using a piece of music in connection with adult entertainment or political advertising.

 

I found a photo depicting people’s faces. Can I use it under the CC license?

 

A CC license is permission given by the copyright owner. Other rights may apply to using photographs. Every person has the right to determine where his/her photograph is used. For example, an advertiser must have permission from all persons in a picture to use it. A Creative Commons license applied to a photograph does not replace that permission.


Further information on Creative Commons licences can be found on www.creativecommons.fi (in Finnish) and www.creativecommons.org (in English). Questions can also be addressed to Herkko Hietanen (herkko.hietanen@turre.com).