Creative Commons and GPL

“Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with ‘the copy.’ The law should not regulate ‘copies’ or ‘modern reproductions’ on their own. It should instead regulate uses–like public distributions of copies of copyrighted work–that connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.”
Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Creative Commons and GPL (general public license) are two public licences that can often be confused when one is starting to learn about content copyright . Creative Commons is used for any creative content (like images, videos, music etc) and users can specify which level of licensing they want to use. The licenses in essence may give the user the right to copy, redistribute and share the content and the author can choose to be attributed to the work if they want. The licenses try to find middle ground between public works and completely copyrighted licenses. They were a response to an age where it is hugely difficult to uphold licensing laws on creative content and adaptations had to be made.


A GPL differs from a Creative Commons license in that it is primarily used for software. WordPress is a widely known GPL licensed software. A GPL license ensures that software can be shared and used but the source code can be no more restricting than the parent license.It is slightly less flexible than a Creative Commons license in that the contents are unchangeable. GNU say of their philosophy that software users have certain rights: ‘Specifically, free software means users have the four essential freedoms: (0) to run the program, (1) to study and change the program in source code form, (2) to redistribute exact copies, and (3) to distribute modified versions.’

GNU is the parent company of the GPL, and is founded on the principles of freedom in technology and software.


These licenses give power back into the hands of the creators. The digital age has thrown the stiff copyright laws of the past for a loop. Less emphasis must now be given on ownership and profit-making from digital content, and more to idea-sharing and community based technological values.


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