07 June 2009

Creative Commons, We Have a Problem

I'm a big fan of the Creative Commons movement. But it has a big problem: few people have heard of it according to a survey conducted on behalf of the UK's Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI).

In the survey, people were shown one of the standard CC logos (like the one at the foot of this page). Here's what they found:

75% of respondents did not recognise this image.

Lack of recognition was highest amongst the “general public” – 87%. And lowest amongst respondents from the OPSI website – 55% did not recognise the image.

The majority did not understand the meaning of the image. Understanding was highest amongst the OPSI website respondents – 35%.

This is not surprising as this group was also the group in which the most had heard of Creative Commons licences before – 47% (vs 10% of the “general public” and 29% of the OPSI database). Only those likely to be more familiar with copyright (inferred from their route to the survey) are likely to have a previous understanding of Creative Commons terminology and imagery. One might argue that if these are used moving forward, more people will become more familiar with these, however, the benefits at this stage of shared/added meaning would only really apply to a minority – a minority who are likely to have a strong understanding of Crown copyright already.

It looks like much more work needs to be done to get the message out about Creative Commons and its licences.


mpt said...

And then there’s the people who proudly describe their work as being licensed under “a Creative Commons license”, apparently ignorant that there are many different CC licenses with highly varying restrictions.

Glyn Moody said...

indeed, that richness is certainly a problem.

Crosbie Fitch said...

Creative Commons exists for those who still believe copyright matters and remains effective: to them, their audience, and publishing corporations.

Given that these days it's only the traditional relationship between authors and publishing corporations for which copyright has any significant effect, Creative Commons serves primarily as a superstitious ward among the cognoscenti, a secret sign as it were. It serves not to protect the author's work from copying but to ward their audience from prosecution (and consequently to protect the author from their audience's opprobrium from any future publishing agent's spite).

The public will treat (cc) with as much respect as (C), i.e. none at all.

Glyn Moody said...

Well, even the superstitious can have their hearts in the right place.