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Practical creative commons

When I first heard about the idea of the creative commons licence (CC), I was immediately enamoured. In a world where one boggles at the amount of lawsuits over naming trifles, the idea that you can publish content under a licence that allows free non-commercial distribution and modification, seemed like a blessing. I quickly put creative commons licences on my blog, and my Flickr photos.

That was months ago. Since then, the whole idea went below the horizon of consciousness – I didn’t see many practical uses of Creative Commons, though I continued to use the licence. Out of the blue, I get this mail today.

I am writing to let you know that six of your photos with a creative commons license have been short-listed for inclusion in our Schmap Boston Guide, to be published mid-April 2006.

When I went to their website, it turns out Schmap makes free travel guides and distribute them. The guides are in the form of an application, with dynamic maps and other interactive content. One of the first practical uses I have seen for the CC license. They use CC licenced photos in their program, with author credits and links to the original image. The reason they mailed was to obtain permission as the “non-commercial” usage is arguable, given that they do have advertising even though the guides themselves are free.

CC – like anything else – becomes practical when it starts to offer value, and enough good content is licenced under it.

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