Help2Go Switches to Creative Commons License

by Oscar Sodani
April 14, 2003

You may have noticed a small image at the bottom of every Help2Go web page that says "Creative Commons". Creative Commons is an effort to do for content what the Open Source did for software: make it free an accessible to everyone on the Internet (just like the way it used to be when the Internet was an educational and research tool rather than one giant advertisement billboard).

The Help2Go web site is using the Creative Commons license to make our work available for use by others, with certain restrictions. Read on for more information...

Creative Commons offers several licenses to choose from, depending on the number of rights you want to keep on your work. All of the content on Help2Go can be copied and used by others, provided that a) credit is given to the author(s) of the tutorial, and to Help2Go, and b) the tutorial is not used for commercial gain.

This means that anyone can print out a tutorial and use it in a classroom setting, or reprint it on their own web site, provided that you give us credit and that you don't make any money off of our hard work. Pretty good deal, huh?

There's one additional restriction: you may also change or improve our work, as long as you release the new version under the same Creative Commons license. This ensures that anything helpful on this site can be reworked for future uses, yet still remain free

There are many examples of content released with the Creative Commons license that you can grab for free -- we're far from being the first. For instance, a few months ago I read an excellent novel by Cory Doctorow called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. He released it under a Creative Commons license, so I was able to download the book for free. Not only that, but because people were able to improve on it as they pleased, there were versions of the book in all kinds of different formats -- I downloaded a version for my PocketPC!

In the coming months, you'll start to see articles printed on Help2Go that were written on other sites using this license. These will be marked as "/contributed by Creative Commons" with a note on where they came from. For once, the dissemination of information and the value of helping others has taken precedence over the almighty dollar (or yen, or pound, or euro).

If you have work that you would like to release under the Creative Commons license (and it can be anything- music, art, graphics, books, etc.), check out their web site. And if you have any ideas or comments, please post them below!