Creative Commons Licensing and the Scholarly Publishing Website

The MIT Libraries’ Scholarly Publication website carries the designation “Text is licensed under Creative Commons, unless otherwise noted. All other media is all rights reserved unless otherwise noted.”

This page is intended to explain what this statement means and why it appears.

What does the statement mean?

The Creative Commons license we chose for the text at our site is the “Attribution-ShareAlike” license.

This license, which we’ve applied only to the text at our site, allows anyone to share or remix our text for their own purposes, as long as they attribute the source and share the resulting creations under the same or similar terms.

The Attribution-ShareAlike CC license does not apply to other media at our site. Images, figures, and other non-text content are “all rights reserved.” We do not normally have the rights to this nontext content, so we can’t include it in the CC license.

We also do not have the right to share all of the text we mount on our site. Exceptions are indicated with a phrase “all rights reserved” somewhere on the page containing text that we cannot share under the CC license. The phrase “all rights reserved” overrides the standard message of the footer.

Why is the statement included as a footer for this website?

The copyright policy of the website mirrors the purpose of the website.

The website is dedicated to promoting MIT’s mission of disseminating research as widely as possible, through supporting MIT authors in retaining rights to their work so that they can openly share their work.

Consistent with this vision of a world without unnecessary barriers to access, content included in this website is intended to be openly shared or adapted (with attribution) as needed.

It takes a little more time and a little more thought to manage a site that is licensed under CC. We think the long-term goal of creating a world that maximizes the potential for sharing insights and ideas is worth extra time and effort.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “building a layer of reasonable, flexible copyright in the face of increasingly restrictive default rules.”

Creative Commons

Since 2001, CC has been working to provide “free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.”

Using Creative Commons licensing, authors can change copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” (where the copyright holder retains the full bundle of rights assigned to the creator under copyright law) to “Some Rights Reserved” (where the copyright holder offers some nonexclusive rights to users of the content, without requiring them to seek permission).

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