This blog has a Creative Commons license.  Why? Because I want people to know that I expect them to share things they find interesting, or to help further the conversation but that in sharing, others need to keep the content free, too.  Because Creative Commons licenses help creators, sharers, and readers enjoy online content respectfully.  So, when I saw that Creative Commons released a version of the licensing and an application for Facebook, I had to check it out!

“CC licenses enable anyone to specify to the public how they want their work to be used. If you’re a photographer, you might be happy to let someone use your photos so long as they give you credit. CC licenses make it easier to be clear about how you want your content used.

The Creative Commons License application allows users to choose one of the six Creative Commons licenses to apply to the content they upload to Facebook.”

Why Use Creative Commons in Facebook?

You may be licensing your blog posts or website content under a CC license, like I do (you can see the license information in the right hand column).  Maybe you use Flickr and share your photos there under a CC license as well.  Why, because you want others to know they can share or post your cool photos so long as they give attribution (or any other stipulated criteria you’ve set via the licensing options).

Facebook has a great deal of content you are creating, uploading, posting, and sharing.  Why not license that as well so that your Flickr photos AND your Facebook photos are both included. So that your blog posts AND your status messages are both licensed.

How do you get started?

facebookccIt’s pretty easy!  Just visit the Creative Commons Facebook application page here (be sure you are logged into Facebook first) to add the application and select your license.  Something to keep in mind: “Because of the way Facebook applications work, users cannot select a license per-photo or video, and must choose a CC license for all items of a particular type of media.”

If you want to suggest ideas or features for the Facebook application, you can visit the Creative Commons wiki.

What do you think?

Will you use the application? Do you use Creative Commons on other online spaces as an individual or as an organization, like a blog or website?  How did you select which license you wanted to use?

License your photos and more on Facebook
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  • Hi Amy. This is pretty interesting and potentially cool. But how does it jive with Facebook’s controversial Statement of Rights and Responsibilties that seem to run against users setting terms of use on their own content?

  • Tricky one I would say there has been a court case that looked at terms and conditions set by websites and ruled that a condition that gives a site absolute power as in the case of 99.9999% of T and C would be unfair and against the consumer good.

    What this will mean in the long term I’m not sure but it’s clear that the current “we own everything you say, do and upload on our networks” is out of step with how users demand their content is treated.

    I would put money on Facebook not having an issue with Creative Commons purely because of the backlash it would create. In effect CC would superseed FB’s T&C ‘s and FB can’t do a thing about it or risk another Beacon or T&C change backlash.

    Just my thoughts.


  • Thanks for the great question, Ben! I don’t actually know the answer but will ping the @CreativeCommons folks via Twitter and see if I can get an answer from them!

  • John, Thanks for sharing your take on Ben’s question!

    I completely agree with your take on CC vs Facebook terms and conditions. My hope is that people take advantage of the Creative Commons opportunity to self-elect terms for their content instead of allowing Facebook to make restrictions or decisions over them.

    Thanks for weighing in!

  • Facebook’s terms of use have changed since that group was formed (in 2007?). The current terms of use state quite clearly that you own your own content:

    You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how we share your content through your privacy and application settings.

    However, FB claims the right to use your photos, per your privacy settings:

    For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).

    I don’t see how a CC license will be able to impact how Facebook uses your intellectual property; in other words, I don’t think you can change the terms of use. However, a CC license *will* impact how other Facebook members use your IP.

  • Hi Kathy-

    Thanks so much for your incredible comment – I’m so glad you took the time to share it with the community here.

    The Facebook Terms of Service saga has been an interesting one to follow and I don’t think it’s over 🙂 Will keep watching it develop and how third party options like CC can impact those developments.

    Thanks again

  • Thanks for this post, Amy, and for Kathy’s clarification. It’s good to know that while you have some rights spelled out by Facebook, with the CC you can additionally retain your rights by other FB users. This is particularly helpful if you want to show images of your artwork online (especially digital photography) outside of Flickr.

    Good posts, Amy, thanks!

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  • How can you protect people from using or saving your pictures from facebook? i already installed the application. i think..