Friday, June 10, 2005

Is It A Flaw in Creative Commons?

I was having a yak to Sunshine in the car on the way to dropping her off at TAFE (WSI) this morning, and she was telling me about this 'heated discussion' she was having with one of the design teachers there. She was telling me how this teacher was really pro copyright and explaining how it all worked. Sunshine said she was getting really irritated by the guy's positivity about copyright when to her, everyone in the room had broken the law because of copyright, it was obviously geared to benefit bigger corporations, and her feeling that it was just all way too complicated for the average person to manage. The way Sunshine described what this guy was saying... well, I just wish I could have been there!

We then started talking about Creative Commons as an alternative for designers, and Sunshine pointed out a worrying flaw in the creative commons usage on the Internet. She told me how only yesterday she put in a yahoo creative commons search for "Zoo Animals" which turned out all these blogs, Flickrs, websites and moblogs with pictures taken straight off the new movie Madagascar.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that Dreamworks isn't buying into a Creative Commons license for its movie, so that means that all those well meaning bloggers out there with a generic, across-whole-site, creative commons statements are perhaps unintentionally implying that the pictures that they are linking to in their blogs, or the Flickr pictures that they taken while at the movie... are also creative commons, when they're not! Because of the way the search engine looks for creative commons content, it turns up a heap of stuff that's in fact not. If Madagascar wasn't a big movie at the moment, how would we know?

I think the search results issue and implied site wide licensing is a pretty big problem that threatens the greatness of the creative commons stamp. Either we have to encourage people to use the CC mark on each little piece of text and media, use the format selection tool more (it will need to be improved in functionality), or at the very least we ask that the CC stamp, statement and link be added to each blog post where the blogger can claim ownership or rights on all the content in that post - stop using the stamp in the site footer, as it implies CC licensing for everything that appears in the site and it is certainly corrupting the CC search results.

Waiting on a comment to a CC eGroup post I've made...

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