Tuesday, October 2, 2007

(Creative) Commoners at Çatalhöyük

This post is in praise of the Çatalhöyük Excavations website. It's the following text, at the lower right of the front page, that should catch one's eye:
All content on this website (including text, photographs, video files, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

For those unfamiliar with the Creative Commons (CC), here's an excerpt from the FAQ (the "you" in this instance is a potential author):
Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights—such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.

To be more precise, Ian Hodder, and whoever else decided to use a CC license for these materials, chose an "Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0" license. This states that you (this time, a user) are free to:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work

  • to Remix — to adapt the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

  • Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

  • Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Those are pretty broad freedoms and fair conditions so that the "Creative Commoners" at Çatalhöyük are setting an excellent example by releasing their data under these terms. But what does this have to with pottery? Well, it means that you can use this image in accordance with the freedoms granted and conditions described above. Pretty cool. And it helps that you can pursue searches in the database to ascertain that this piece is associated with layers VI/V (c. 5900 BCE).

To further solidify their forward-thinking cred, the project is now using Flickr to handle image delivery. A nice feature of Flickr is that you can easily choose a CC license for your photos and the site makes this choice very clear. I'll blog more about this later.

For now... all praise to everyone who made the decision to use a CC license.

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