Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Do You Know How Your Blog Is Licensed?

I’ve had a variation of the Creative Commons license on my work on this site for years. It allows me some level of oversight as to what can be done with my work while still allowing others some freedom to repurpose parts of it as needed.

Last week, for the first time, I received an email asking me for a deviation of the license I had been using as it was configured to not allow derivatives. In this case someone wanted to re-use my privacy policy, with attribution, for their own site but I had specifically licensed my work to not allow that.

In truth, I had revisited that provision in July when I redesigned that site at which point I explicitly removed that provision and simply had forgotten to update the link on the footer. That said, changing it wasn’t just a trivial thought. Opening a Creative Commons license to be more open means the more open provisions can never be revoked. In other words, I needed to spend some time thinking if the change to allow derivates was something I would be comfortable with for all time.

It’s not just about allowing people to alter your work though. Even if you don’t mind others using your work there are still instances where you want to watch the license you use for other reasons. Perhaps you wouldn’t want your work being used commercially to the benefit of someone else. Perhaps you would simply like credit if someone else shares your work. There are a lot of considerations in licensing that can help you ensure your work is protected at a level that is right for you.

So what’s in your license? Do you even know? If you have a blog or similar work I would invite you to re-visit your current license or, if you have never implemented one, take a look at the Creative Commons which has some great tools to help you protect yourself and your work while still allowing your work to be shared by the world.