Creative Commons licenses are developed to make it easy for readers and users of your work to understand what you allow them to do with your work. Creative Commons is a part of the Open Science movement. On this webpage you can read about Creative Commons licenses, copyright, Plan S and you can select a Creative Commons license for your work. Specifically, using a Creative Commons license gives users information on how to reuse your work in an Open Access context.
You can also find more information on Open Access here: https://www.uia.no/en/library/forskning-og-publisering2/open-access-publishing
The purpose of copyright law is to protect owners of intellectual property. Protecting creative work is intended as an incentive to produce more creative work, which in turn will benefit society.
What is copyrightable and what is not?
The Berne convention dictates that copyrighted material must be “fixed in some material form” (WIPO 2022a, article 2 (2)) As such an idea is not copyrightable. For a work to be copyrightable, it needs to have a degree of originality, be a result of choices and have a certain degree of independence from other works. This is why creative work can build on copyrightable work and still receive its own copyright. Still, this work’s copyright will only be on the original parts, not all of it. E.g. a movie can have its own copyright, even though it is based on a copyrighted book. The movie's copyright would then be based on the movie’s originality (such as an original script) and what it added to the story, in addition to the technical aspects, i.e. the recording which constitutes a work's independence. The story will still belong to the author of the work the film is based on, however and the film is considered an adaptation.
The holder of the copyright must be a legal individual or organization. If a work is created by an entity not defined as such, it is not copyrightable. (Such as non-human animals.) (Wikipedia, 2022c).
Articles 8,9, 11 and 12 of the Berne convention covers translation, performance, distribution, copying and adaptation. Which includes adaptation of a literary work to film, for instance.
How to receive copyright protection
For the most part all that is required for a work to receive copyright protection is to actually do the work. “[t]he expression "literary and artistic works" shall include every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression” (WIPO 2022a, article 2(1)). From this moment the work is owned by its creator, or other entity paying for the creation of the work.
However there are numerous practical exceptions to this, and under certain conditions it can be prudent to register a product to strengthen the legal protection of said work, especially in certain countries and certain types of work. For instance registering sheet music, music lyrics and recordings with agencies like ASCAP in the USA, TONO in Norway or PRS in the United Kingdom (Wikipedia 2022b).
Plan S is an initiative for open access publication coordinated by Coalition S. The central requirement is that research funded by public grants from 2021 and after must be published under open access licenses. Specifically research should preferably be published with a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY).
This allows not only the public to access information that has been paid for by the public, but allows researchers to retain copyright over their work. Furthermore publication fees and other financing will for the main part be covered by public funding. In Norway Plan S has been signed and is administered by the Norwegian Research Council.
Plan S is summed up in ten principles found here: https://www.coalition-s.org/addendum-to-the-coalition-s-guidance-on-the-implementation-of-plan-s/principles-and-implementation/
You can read more about Plan S and Coalition S here: https://www.coalition-s.org/
Norwegian implementation plan for Plan S (in Norwegian): https://www.openscience.no/oa-i-norge/plan-s
In relation to Copyright
Creative Commons licenses cannot exist without copyright. Copyright exists in a work from the moment it is created and grants certain rights to its owner, which may or may not be the creator. A CC-license makes it easy for users to understand what the creator allows users to do with the work, without reaching out to the creator. All Creative Commons licenses allow distribution and reuse and the creator of the work retains full copyright.
The six licenses
In addition to these licenses, there is CC0. This is not tecnically a license, because it does not require any form of restriction, not even attribution. The CC0 indicates that the work is public domain and you can use it without restrictions.
Here is a overview of the different abbreviations and their symbols:
"Key to Abbreviation" from https://poritz.net/j/cc/charts/adaptation.html by Jonathan Poritz/ CC BY 4.0.
Adapting Work with a Creative Commons License
If you wish to adapt and make derivatives to work with a Creative Commons license, this is possible with one exception. If the license has a ND (No Derivatives) restriction, any change you make to the work, cannot be published. If the license has a SA (Share Alike) restriction, you must use a the same or a compatible license on the changes you make public.
Here is an overview to know which license you must use when publishing your derivative work:
"Adaptations Status Chart" from https://poritz.net/j/cc/charts/adaptation.html by Jonathan Poritz/ CC BY 4.0.
In order to re-publish a previous work under new terms you might need to check your rights status. If you have previously signed away rights to a publication and wish to regain these you can check your possibilities on Termination of Transfer Tool, which is co-stewarded by Authors Alliance and Creative Commons, and forms part of our rights retention strategy.
"Is the ToT Tool Useful For Me?" from https://rightsback.org/ by Authors Alliance and Creative Commons/ CC BY 4.0.
To read more about the Termination of Transfer Tool and see if you can regain your publication right: https://rightsback.org/
When choosing a license consider your potential audience and the nature of the work you are licensing. We recommend research to be released as openly as possible, under an attribution license (CC BY). There might be concerns that demand a more restrictive license however, such as the inclusion of a non-commercial clause.
Use the licensing tool found here to build a license for your work.
Creative Commons. (2022). 2.1. Copyright Basics. https://canvas.instructure.com/courses/5342804/modules/items/72526521
Ginsburg, J. (2009 October 16th) Borderless Publications, the Berne Convention, and U.S. Copyright Formalities https://www.mediainstitute.org/2009/10/20/borderless-publications-the-berne-convention-and-u-s-copyright-formalities/
Gray, B. (2015) Roger Corman: Blood-sucking vampires, flesh-eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers. 3rd ed. (Collene Curran narr.) [Audiobook] Audible (Original work published 2015) https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Roger-Corman-Audiobook/B018IW65E6?qid=1665736947&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=TMTARBE9YV1JSTN5E284
Kennedy, M. (2019, november 16) How Night of the Living Dead Accidentally Became Public Domain https://screenrant.com/night-living-dead-movie-public-domain-copyright-accident/
Wikipedia (2022b) Performance Rights Organisations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_rights_organisation
Wikipedia (2022c) Monkey Selfie Copyright Dispute. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_selfie_copyright_dispute
WIPO (2016). Understanding Copyright and Related Rights. https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_909_2016.pdf
WIPO (2022a) Berne Convention For The Protection Of Literary And Artistic Works (As Amended On September 28, 1979) (Authentic Text). https://wipolex.wipo.int/en/text/283693
WIPO (2022b) Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/summary_berne.html
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.