Alternative forms of licensing your rights: Copyleft and Creative Commons

In the previous post we mentioned the rights granted by law to the authors in order to entitle them to authorize or prohibit certain uses of their works. In this post we would like to focus on the growing relevance of certain alternative forms of licensing rights, such as copyleft and Creative Commons. Both forms of licensing rights enable the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Although this topic would require to be dealt with in further detail in another post, I would just like to point out that both forms of licensing rights aim at ensuring that a work remains freely available to the general public and is not restricted by constraints that the author does not want to implement.


On the one hand, copyleft licenses, generally used for software, imply that works can be modified (even commercially) and shared with other users, with the accompanying requirement that the same rights be preserved in derivative works down the line. In other words, creators may authorize every person who receives a copy of their work to reproduce, adapt, or distribute it, provided that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement.

Creative Commons

On the other hand, Creative Commons licenses (see: are widely used in blogging and give the author of a work a wider flexibility in order to decide what level of protection and what kind of constraints he wishes to attribute to his works. Thus, creators may establish which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of those people interested in using their work or a part thereof. These licenses foresee a different kind of constraints, such as acknowledging the author of the work, or allowing only non-commercial uses. The benefits of this type of rights licensing are obvious: users don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions the creator of a work has specified. This post, for example, is subject to a “CC BY 4.0” license, which means that you are free to share (copy and redistribute its content in any medium or format) and adapt it (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially), provided that you give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.

Creative Commons License
“Alternative forms of licensing your rights: Copyleft and Creative Commons” by Xavier Domènech Corbella is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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