Creative Commons in China


Creative Commons in China

Creative Commons is a non-for-profit organization affiliated both of Harvard University and Stanford University that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal and technical tools. It is well-known in the world including China because it not only protect users’ copyrights, but also promote the sharing and use of their creative works worldwide.  But on the other side, Creative Commons encounters some barriers in the Chinese market. Now let’s first look at the benefits of Creative Commons in the aspects of copyright protection and creative works sharing.

Creative Commons provides a simple and standardized way for people to apply for its free and easy-to-use copyright licenses, and the CC licenses allow users to use its combined tools to change their copyright terms optionally according to their wants. The combination of its tools is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. When they apply for the CC license, they will be advised to answer several questions step by step to check the restrictions they want to set up for the public. Let’s take some examples of the questions—Do I want to allow attribution (BY) or not? Do I want to allow commercial use or not (Non-commercial, NC)? Do I want to allow derivative works or not (No Derivative works, ND)? Do I want to share alike (SA) or not? These questions are established for people to choose their own license types. The types including Attribution CC BY, Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA, Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA, Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND.


More amazing is Creative Commons can create fantastic effects by its remixing tool. People can allow their works to be remixed and changed into some fresh or even miraculous works. So Creative commons provides the universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity, via the Internet.

In china, there are many social media platforms using the Creative Commons, such like Tudou, Qi Ji Wen Ku and Xin She Ying. Many creative works are protected, promoted and shared universally on these websites. The first creative work authorised by Creative Commons in China was the music album of Yuexin Zhu , the Lord’s Prayer. And on March 29, 2006, when the license agreement of Creative Commons was officially released in Renmin University of China in Beijing,  iMagine Pty Ltd apply the CC-NC-ND 2.5 CHINA License to “PatPet”,  the first digital CD record in china. And the msn emotions of the Onion created by Taiwan Cartoonist Ethan also have the Creative Common License and now for commercial use.


Even though Creative Commons has these benefits, it encounters some barriers in China like personal factor, culture factor and IT factor.

Personal factor:

Under the huge stress of increasingly fierce competition in the current society in China, many people don’t want to share their own knowledge because they consider their knowledge as the guarantee of their personal values and statuses in the competition, and they are afraid that if they share the knowledge, they will lose competition advantages and personal benefits.

Culture factor

The most important criterion for Chinese company to assess their employees is their different, special or unique skills, and everyone should keep at least one of that skills, which is the traditional Chinese culture. So many Chinese people will not like to share their key knowledge or skills to anybody even the closest one. On the other hand, many people don’t believe in that their copyrights can be protected during sharing process.

IT factor

The information technology in China is not very developed because there are only information management systems in most Chinese companies not the information sharing systems. Due the misunderstanding of sharing and the limitation of information technology, Creative Commons cannot be correctly applied.

These barriers not only limit the development of Creative Commons, but also affect the development of the Chinese companies, and in further the Chinese economy. So China should pay more attention on the dissemination and application of Creative Commons in China.



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