The Creative Commons and Copyright Protection in the Digital Era: Uses of Creative Commons Licenses

December 21, 2008

As digital technology thrusts complexity upon copyright law, conflict has escalated between copyright holders desperate to institute a vigorous enforcement mechanism against copying in order to protect their ownership and others who underscore the importance of public interests in accessing and using copyrighted works. This study explores whether Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a viable solution for copyright protection in the digital era. Through a mixed-methods approach involving a web-based survey of CC licensors, a content analysis of CC-licensed works, and interviews, the study characterizes CC licensors, the ways that CC licensors produce creative works, the private interests that CC licenses serve, and the public interests that CC licenses serve. The findings suggest that the Creative Commons can alleviate some of the problems caused by the copyright conflict.

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