Creators/Marking third party content

Marking best practices also apply for any third party content your work incorporates. Third party content refers to material created by others, or more precisely, in which the licensor is not the copyright holder. Third party content could be offered under a Creative Commons license, restricted by All Rights Reserved copyright, or anything in between. You should obtain any permissions required for your use of third party content and abide by any license restrictions.

Using third party content in your work that is not offered under the same license terms as the rest of your work may require additional marking. If you include works offered under other Creative Commons licenses, additional marking may be required for attribution. If you include third party content in your work that may not be available for reuse under the same terms as the rest of the work, you should warn users and mark it with any additional information that may be helpful. CC offers additional explanation and tips on giving thorough notices and marking for works.

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Marking works offered under other CC licenses

Here's how you may want to consider marking third party content that is offered under different CC licenses.

Example of marking your own work:

Except otherwise noted, this blog is © 2009 Greg Grossmeier, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

Example of marking the differently licensed item:

The photo X is © 2009 Jane Park, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.

In general, when using works offered under Creative Commons licenses you should consider adhering to best practices for marking that content.

Notices and marking

CC licenses are designed to let others know how they may use a work without infringing copyright. Sometimes, it may be helpful for a licensor to offer users guidance beyond the terms of the license. CC licensors can use notices and marking to inform users of any limitations on the application of the CC license to their work. Typically, creators give either a notice visually next to the relevant content, or at the beginning or end of a work, as appropriate for the medium, or both. There is no singular, correct way to give a notice, and different situations may require more or less complicated notices and marking. CC offers additional explanation and tips on giving thorough notices and marking for works.

Additional explanation and tips

CC licenses are designed to let others know how they may use a work without infringing copyright. Sometimes, it may be helpful for a licensor to offer users guidance beyond the terms of the license. CC licensors can use notices and marking to inform users of any limitations on the application of the CC license to their work. Users should carefully observe any notices or marking by the licensor.

When a creator or rightsholder applies a Creative Commons license to a work, the license automatically applies to any copyrights the licensor has in the entire work. Ideally, licensors will have all the rights necessary to license a work, since they otherwise potentially expose users to liability. Alternatively, licensors that do not have all the necessary rights can inform users with notice statements and/or marking that explains the limitations on the license, warning, for instance, that a particular element of a work is not freely available or that additional rights clearance may be necessary. Some licensors may also wish to exempt certain portions of a work from the application of the CC license. For instance, a creator may wish to apply a CC license to one chapter of a book. Creative Commons licenses are flexible in their application, and licensors may use them as they find appropriate. To avoid confusion or misunderstanding on the part of users, however, it is important to mark a work clearly to identify portions not subject to the CC license.

Two common marking practices

CC has found that licensors often use two mechanisms to mark works like those described above. Some licensors include a general notice within their copyright and licensing notice that identifies those portions of the work that are not subject to the CC license. This may take the form of a general notice letting licensees know that some of the content is not licensed under the CC license applied, may be subject to another license arrangement and/or may not be available for reuse. Ideally, these types of notices specifically identify that content. This style of notice is popular in mediums like video, where a notice at the beginning or the end is convenient and the standard. Other licensors choose to mark the specific content with a notice to that same effect at each instant it occurs, instead of providing a general notice attached to the work. Ideally, licensors will do both for maximum clarity.

As a best practice, licensors should give clear and effective notices. Notice may be in any form the licensor chooses and should clearly explain what rights and substantive portions of a work are and are not licensed. Some licensors include the following general notice along with the license icon: "Except where otherwise noted, this work is available under [license version]." Licensors can then use marking, for instance a watermark, colored background or any other method desired to indicate elements to which the license does not apply. For instance, some licensors individually mark pieces of content to which the license does not apply with explanatory text such as “(c) copyright holder--used with permission” or “The CC license does not apply to this picture.” Licensors in that situation, however, should also ideally explain their marking scheme in the general notice.

Tips for a clear and informative notice

There is no one, right way to give notice, and different situations may require more or less complicated notices and marking. The following tips may be helpful, however, in designing a clear and informative notice.

1. Define the work

Substantively define the work to which you are applying the license. A notice that "this work" is offered under a CC license tells a user much less than one that gives the work's title or defines the work. If you intend to license a song, name the song. If you intend to license part of a work, describe that part. For instance, an author of a novel could offer one chapter under a CC license and use the following notice: "Chapter X of Novel Y by Author Z is offered under [license version].” Licensors who define the licensed work make it easier for users to understand which works and parts of works are licensed and available for use.

2. Identify any parts of the work to which the license does not apply

Here the licensor should describe all of the elements of the work (as defined in the first step) to which the license does not apply, and thus are not available for use under the license terms. You may list reserved elements in the general notice, or you can describe and implement a marking procedure such as watermarking or text notices that you will use to denote those elements of the work that are not licensed. Licensors should inform users about any portions of the work to which the license cannot apply because the licensor does not have the necessary rights, and any places where the licensor has opted not to apply the license as a strategic matter.

3. Identify the rights licensed that you have in the work (as far as you know) and any rights that are not licensed because you do not have them.

When licensors are the owners of, or are authorized to exercise, all rights related to their creative works, including copyright and publicity/privacy rights, marking a work is not problematic. However, some licensors do not own all rights related to their works.
Copyright is a bundle of rights, such as the right to copy and the right to distribute, which are divisible and may be held by different parties. A licensor without all the rights should list those they have. For instance, a licensor who holds the performance rights to a recording of a song, but not the rights in the composition, should say so. Licensors should attempt to alert users of any rights held by others that may impact their ability to reuse the work.

4. Grant any additional permissions

Licensors can use notices to grant additional permissions beyond the license grant. For instance, a licensor who chooses a NoDerivatives or NonCommercial license can grant users permission to create derivatives or make commercial uses under specific conditions. Note that licensors can use notices to broaden the license grant and give additional permissions, but notices cannot restrict any permissions already granted by the CC license.

5. Convey any supplementary requests or information

Licensors should use notices to inform users about any additional requests or information. If you desire a particular attribution statement, for instance, you can request it here. You may also decide to include your contact information and anything else you would like to pass on to users.
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  • This page was last modified on 19 November 2013, at 22:44.