The Role of Open Content Licences in Building Open Content Communities :Creative Commons, GFDL and Other Licences

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This article seeks to highlight the unique and fundamental interaction between the legal notion of providing permission to reproduce or communicate copyright content (copyright licensing) and the building of open user generated online communities such as ccMixter and Flickr. As much of the information and content that is found in online communities: especially text, images, music and film: is subject to copyright, it can only be reproduced or communicated to the public with the permission of the copyright owner. Copyright licensing therefore plays a fundamental role in the development and day to day functioning of these online communities. In this way, copyright plays the role of a constitutional principle which delineates the rights to reuse expression. This article examines a number of case studies and provides some commentary on the way open content licensing can be used to support community building.

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Copyright 2007 The Authors