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The role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 23 January 2012



The role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 139
Posted DateMonday 23 January 2012 14:51 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
CategoriesKnowledge Sharing
PeoplePaul corney 

Paul Corney sent me this email recently:

Dear All,

In a couple of week's time I am going to be in Sudan at a KM event for Africa and one of the discussions is going to focus on the role of Creative Commons Licences in a KM environment.

In the development arena some organisations publish under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licences and I was wondering how successful the use of these licences are in other industries in fostering collaboration.

I considered whether to post this on various km lists but thought some people might not want to respond in public so could I therefore ask you to respond to a few simple questions (I will not attribute your response unless you ask me to):

  • Have you published works under a creative commons licence and if so which one?
  • What was the work about and why did you publish via a creative commons licence?
  • Can you give a personal example that illustrates the benefit from publishing in this way?

Thank you for taking the trouble to look at this.

And finally every best wish for a healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2012.


Paul J Corney l Managing Partner

This was my reply:

Dear Paul

I have been publishing almost all of my work under a creative commons license for five years or more.

For example. here is the slide that I have at end the end of all of my presentations.


This license says you are free:

  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work
  • to make derivative works
  • to make commercial use of the work


  • Attribution: you must give the original author credit.
  • Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one.

I do this for several reasons:

  • I am building on the shoulders of others, I have no legitimate claim over most of my material
  • If they really want to, people are going to take and use my material whatever I say (and am I really going to take them to court over it!)
  • My business strategy is to give most of my written material away as marketing material and to charge for me in person
  • I want to encourage people to take my material and remix it and attribute me where appropriate

But more than anything I do it to encourage others to do the same and to share freely.

Do I have a personal example of the benefit of using the licence? No nothing specific, other than people do take my material, reuse it and remix it and thus help spread some of the messages I am keen to spread.

best wishes David

You will find more thoughts on this subject in an article of mine: Raising all the ships on the sea where I talk about the tangible and intangible "commons".

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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