Placing documents in the public domain is giving them away – often seen as an illogical position for a commercial entity to take?
Or should it be better put that placing information online in order to spread that knowledge as widely as possible, is best achieved by offering users of that information clear signposting that copyright and license of the material has been waived.
This is an Open Access argument. If you create information, articles or images that you wish to be freely available to others why not ‘mark’ them accordingly for others to use the material with confidence.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation has been working recently to provide researchers and information users with standardised sources of open access information.
The Creative Commons movement have also posted a set of tools online that can help you generate html to help signify the accessibility of information sources that you have published as original material.
These Creative Commons tools are clearly intended as markers for original content that has not been licensed. Delimiting material already prescribed by copyright is a cautious matter for the original content owners.
If you are interested in reading more about the Creative Commons as a non-profit organisation you can find a Wikipedia article here.
There is some debate online as to whether the Creative Commons approach is really able to be aligned with the concepts of free software or images, or comparable with Open Source. Surely the point is that the creator of the work has a framework of possibilities available to him or her – deciding which right she or he wishes to devolve themselves of, or not.
We create content for access by the public and in our small way think any framework that helps information users or distributors to be clear about how material can be used is a good thing per se. What do you think?