You are familiar with the phrase 'all rights reserved'. It is usually associated with copyright, which basically means that anyone who wishes to use any part of a book is to seek permission from the author or his/her representative, but what about 'some rights reserved'? Would you be willing to let go of some of your rights? And what would you be willing to let go of? It may be obvious how doing this can be beneficial to the user, but how can having reserved some rights be beneficial to you? These are some of the questions that will be addressed below.
In preparing my article, 'Why should I give my book away?', two weeks ago, I came upon this concept of some rights reserved. It piqued my interest, for it follows upon the premise of giving your book away, and so I dug a bit deeper to find out more.
Now don't start to hyper-ventilate, it's not all that bad. It's actually a good thing if you're the sharing type and you have the inclination to want to help others while building your reputation.
Another way of looking at this concept is 'open access' or 'universal access', which, through the use of the Internet, allows many more people to be reached and affected. It works even better in the educational environment, because it allows for free access to all who can't afford the textbooks and resources so badly needed by many. So those of you who write non-fiction books specifically for educational purposes, 'some rights reserved' apply to you.
HOW IT WORKS
Here is how it works. Any or all types of creative material can take advantage of this open access - from songs to video to scientific to academic material can obtain this licence. And yes, it is a licence which works alongside your familiar 'all rights reserved'. It does not seek to replace or become an alternative.
It is a copyright licence that provides an opportunity for the public to share and use your creative work on your conditions. So, for example, you can decide that you don't want persons to use your content for commercial purposes in order to protect those who worked on that content, but they can edit, copy, paste and post to the Web, in other words, repurpose that content to suit their needs, but just give you credit for being the first one to develop the original content.
There is also the other side where you can give full open access, in which case, users are free to do as they wish and share that content with others, but they are still obligated to giving you credit. If you don't have to reinvent the wheel, it wouldn't cost you an arm and a leg to give credit or say thanks to the original creators now, would it?
You know, the amazing thing about this is that we have been doing this for years, for we felt we had no choice to get the information we needed to get where we wanted to go. It is still considered illegal because there was no way it would have been accepted.
BENEFIT TO YOU
We find work on the Internet and read stuff in books, repurpose it, make it our own, and even have the gall to put our names next to it like we developed the work from scratch! Well, now you have a way to clear your conscience that is legally accepted and you can even look good in the process while doing it. If places like Flickr, Google and the Obama administration at whitehouse.gov use 'some rights reserved', why can't you be open to it?
One place that provides the right to 'some rights reserved' is http://creativecommons.org/about. They seem legitimate and are stewards and proponents for open access for all. So if you want to volunteer to spread the word, then feel free to visit their website. Recently, they held a video competition on 'Why open education matters' and the submissions were amazing! Check out the top three winners at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/33343.
For those of us who want to improve education for all, I suggest you seriously consider this concept as a way of elevating our people and providing them with the equal access to the resources and opportunities that are so greatly needed.
The world is moving in the direction of open access whether we like it or not, and there are only benefits to be derived from sharing and working together. It's called collaboration. So stop restricting yourself. Share your work, and let others use, learn and be inspired by your creative wealth.
Wouldn't you prefer to avoid having to answer to millions of people requesting permission to use your work? You decide what you are willing to share and see your work and visibility explode. Did I happen to mention, this is all for free?
Holiday series on book marketing - A handy tool to have in your arsenal, this series of books focuses on your not-so-typical way to marketing by looking at those who surround the holiday seasons that are overlooked. Written in a light-hearted yet practical way, these books will leave you thinking and asking yourself "what will she think of next?"
Corine La Font is a certified author assistant and online book marketing specialist. Tune in to her radio programme at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/helpdeskja. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit her website at www.helpdeskja.com.