Licence to share: Copyright as a tool in collaborative projects


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Copyright is tricky. Even more so when there is a group of people collaborating together. At the beginning of a project you might all start out as friends, but sometimes other things (eg money and fame) get in the way. This presentation looks at ways of managing copyright in collaborative projects.

Delivered by Elliott Bledsoe, Project Officer, Creative Commons Australia on Monday, 31 August 2009 at the Connecting Up 2009 conference.

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  • Hello everyone, I’m Elliott Bledsoe. I’m a research assistant with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation.
  • As always, all elements of this presentation that are not the copyright of a third party are available for reuse under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence, the terms of which are available at Notes: The font used in this presentation is Puritan 2.0 by benweiner, which is available from here, It is licensed under the SIL Open Font License. For full terms, see . This Attribution 2.5 Australia licence also excludes the reuse of the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Logo. Reuse of the Creative Commons Corporate Logo and Licence Buttons must comply with the Creative Common Trademark Policy which can be viewed at
  • You are free to share and/or remix this presentation, as long as you acknowledge Elliott Bledsoe (as a research assistant at the Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation) as the original creator. Last time I was here I gave you all a brief introduction
  • into this;
  • being copyright of course. Remember?
  • It’s the legal protections afforded to an
  • individual who creates something. More specifically, copyright relates to their exclusive
  • right to
  • control subsequent copying of their works, whether they be
  • literary works;
  • dramatic works;
  • musical works; and
  • artistic works, or they be
  • films;
  • sound recordings;
  • television and radio broadcasts; or
  • published editions. Because all of the rights under copyright are reserved for exploitation by the copyright owner, we use the expression
  • “ all rights reserved”. And what are these ‘rights’?
  • Copyright gives the creator a set of
  • exclusive rights which include:
  • the right to reproduce the work;
  • the right to publish the work;
  • the right to perform the work (is so far as it can be) to the public;
  • the right to communicate the work; and
  • the right to adapt the work. Importantly, not only do they have these rights but they also have the right to grant the exercising of any of those rights or a combination thereof to any other person. So, refresher course over, now I move onto the subject of today’s talk:
  • What about when the work
  • is a collaboration?
  • What about where there is more
  • than
  • one
  • person
  • working
  • together
  • to create something?
  • The law does not hold that they own copyright in common.
  • But rather that they each own rights as individuals on the bit they worked on. So if any one of the collaborators wants to reuse the work, they need all the collaborator’s permission to use the work as a whole. Sometimes it is really easy to identify which parts are the copyright of specific individuals, other times it is not. More importantly, although at the beginning of a project you might all start out
  • as friends, but sometimes
  • other things
  • get in the way.
  • There are two options: The first is where each party involved in the collaboration assign the copyright to one person or entity. Basically, they
  • grant one party the right to exist as if they were the only copyright owner by
  • giving their rights to the elected person, who then has the exclusive rights to exploit the work. Original co-copyright owners no longer have any rights in the work.
  • The other option is to write a specific agreement as to how the copyright will be managed.
  • You might get the lawyers involved if it’s a professional product you’re planning how to manage, but for your purposes you should make sure you have clearly identified terms, including how and when co-copyright owners need to get the others approval to use the work.
  • Make sure the terms are clear and understood by everyone.
  • Although it doesn’t have to be, it is always a good idea to make sure the agreement is in writing and
  • is signed by all the parties.
  • Of course you should also give some thought to how other people can reuse the work.
  • You can opt to maintain all rights reserved copyright,
  • thereby restricting all reuse of the work by other parties. If you do not explicitly allow third parties to use your work all rights reserved will apply by default. However, you might want to allow downstream collaboration, by allowing other people to share and possibly even remix the work. This is where
  • Creative Commons comes in. Hopefully you’ll remember from the last lecture I gave,
  • Creative Commons allows you to grant rights to reuse the work to the world.
  • Remember I told you last semester about Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, and how he has released
  • two albums with Creative Commons licensed tracks?
  • two albums with Creative Commons licensed tracks?
  • However, there have been some very interesting ways people have used Creative Commons as part of their collaboration.
  • For £25 two draft scripts (‘The Unfold’ and ‘The Ravages’)
  • two albums with Creative Commons licensed tracks?
  • The six licences range in how much they grant to others. But knowing which to use can be tricky. So here’s three simple questions that you group should ask and agree on:
  • All Creative Commons licence allow people to share the work.
  • You have to be sure you’re ok with people sharing the work. If you are, there are two other questions you need to decide on to determine which licence to apply:
  • First, will you allow other people to remix the work?
  • Will you allow adaptations of the work? And the other question is
  • whether they can make money from the reuse?
  • Or indeed, if they can do both?
  • If you’re still unsure which Creative Commons licence I recommend using the licensing flowchat created by Creative Commons Australia. Start at the green box and work your way through the questions. You should either end up at “All Rights Reserved” or one of the purple licence boxes.
  • Please get in contact if you want to know anything else.
  • Licence to share: Copyright as a tool in collaborative projects

    1. 1. licence to share elliott bledsoe kkb102 - creative industries: making connections copyright as a tool in collaborative projects
    2. 4. copyright
    3. 5. copyright
    4. 7. i’m an individual
    5. 8. the right
    6. 9. to copy
    7. 10. Generic 2.0 Open Book by Osbornb,
    8. 11. Generic 2.0 Tribal Dance by BdwayDiva1 ,
    9. 12. Generic 2.0 A gal and her guitar by xlordashx ,
    10. 13. Generic 2.0 portrait: yellows and blues by freeparking,
    11. 14. Generic 2.0 16mm educational film screening by lorelei ,
    12. 15. Generic 2.0 Audio Technica ATH-M50 by CLF ,
    13. 16. Generic 2.0 Kent Portable Tube AM Radio by alexkerhead ,
    14. 17. Generic 2.0 Side by euphbass ,
    15. 18. all rights reserved
    16. 19. all rights reserved
    17. 20. the right to:
    18. 21. the right to: reproduce the work
    19. 22. the right to: reproduce the work publish the work
    20. 23. the right to: reproduce the work publish the work perform the work
    21. 24. the right to: communicate the work reproduce the work publish the work perform the work
    22. 25. the right to: adapt the work communicate the work reproduce the work publish the work perform the work
    23. 26. Generic 2.0 [ 22.365] sphere-itize me, captain by db*photography ,
    24. 27. Generic 2.0 "Signs of the Times" Public Art in Emeryville by ingridtaylar ,
    25. 37. Generic 2.0 Two Happy Girls Holding Hands by Pink Sherbet Photography ,
    26. 38. Generic 2.0 Car Money by Cimexus ,
    27. 39. Generic 2.0 Don't Walk & Famous Pawn Awning (Wheaton, MD) by takomabibelot ,
    28. 40. Generic 2.0 Two by kamshots ,
    29. 41. Generic 2.0 Grants Here Sign 11-19-08 by stevendepolo ,
    30. 42. Generic 2.0 Poolside: 6.21.2008 by Jesse757 ,
    31. 43. Generic 2.0 OMGWTF... weighing in at 800 lbs. ... by joebeone ,
    32. 44. Generic 2.0 Barrister Bear by Shiny Things ,
    33. 45. Generic 2.0 Stand Clear by PinkMoose ,
    34. 46. Generic 2.0 Writing. by Caitlinator ,
    35. 47. Generic 2.0 Sign here by Robyn Gallagher ,
    36. 48. Generic 2.0 IBM Think D100 Test by Howdy, I'm H. Michael Karshis ,
    37. 49. copyright
    38. 50. Generic 2.0 Stop by brainware3000 ,
    39. 52. some rights reserved
    40. 53. Generic 2.0 Trent Reznor en vivo desde el Poliedro by Edvill ,
    41. 58. £25
    42. 60. Attribution Attribution-Share Alike Attribution-Noncommercial Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Attribution-No Derivative Works Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    43. 62. share?
    44. 64. remix?
    45. 66. make money?
    46. 67. Australia 2.5 Which Creative Commons licence is right for me? by ccAustralia ,
    47. 68. elliott bledsoe project officer creative commons australia +61 7 3138 9597 0405059367 [email_address] skype elliottbledsoe twitter @elliottbledsoe This presentation is available at