Summary:

For the last ten years, Creative Commons has been offering content creators ways to share their works. Now it wants to let them know who’s been using their stuff.

Creative Commons is looking to give content creators ways to directly track who is using their media: The non-profit organization revealed a strategy paper on Tuesday, titled The Future of Creative Commons (PDF), that proposes new tools to encourage the sharing of content under its licenses, including some that would give creatives more direct feedback “by showing how their content is being reused by others.”

Creative Commons also wants to use the tools to “collect data on reuse to demonstrate the vibrancy of the Commons.” The organization also wants to give creators and remixers new ways to directly interact with each other to — “to communicate around shared CC- licensed content,” as the paper puts it.

Creative Commons launched ten years ago, and the basic mission of the organization has more or less stayed the same over the years: It offers content creators easily understandable licenses to open up their works for reuse and remixing. Creative Commons has seen widespread adoption, some of which the organization highlighted in its 2012 Annual Report it also released Tuesday. (Which you should check out, if only for the design.)

However, up until now, it’s been hard for content creators to actually track how their works are being used. That was in part based on a design decision: Leading up to its launch, Creative Commons made the conscious decision not to become a sharing platform, which would have required everyone to upload their works to a central website, or register their works with a central database.

Instead, it opted for a decentralized approach. That arguably helped the adoption of the license, with Creative Commons-licensed works now being available both on commercial platforms like Flickr and YouTube as well as through nonprofit projects like Wikimedia and even publicly funded libraries and research institutions. But it’s also been harder to figure out who is reusing what in which context – and many creators would probably really like to see their work spread.

Image courtesy of Flickr user David Kindler.

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