To­wards an in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety

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While us­ing or cre­at­ing con­tent for the web, there is an in­creas­ing fo­cus on the un­der­stand­ing of copy­right law due to the in­creas­ing in­se­cu­ri­ties about in­ter­net privacy. In par­tic­u­lar, it is im­por­tant to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween a copy­right and creative com­mons while shar­ing on­line con­tent.

For in­stance, the © sym­bol means the con­tent is owned and can­not be used for com­mer­cial or shar­ing pur­poses with­out proper per­mis­sion and credit. If the user fails to meet this cri­te­rion, the con­tent counts as be­ing pla­gia­rized. This could lead to law­suits, fines and other con­se­quences, de­pend­ing on the con­text in which it was used.

On the other hand, Creative Com­mons has its own sym­bols. These in­clude at­tri­bu­tion, de­riv­a­tives, share- alike and non­com­mer­cial or com­mer­cial use. Each sig­ni­fies that an im­age can be used if the spec­i­fied re­quire­ments, set by the cre­ator, are met. Con­tent that is in the public do­main does not re­quire any spe­cial rules to be listed or fol­lowed for use. For at­tri­bu­tion, you must pro­vide a credit with the con­tent and link or source. Deriva­tive and share­alike both re­fer to the pre­sen­ta­tion of sim­i­lar or edited con­tent based on the orig­i­nal. Com­mer­cial or non­com­mer­cial in­forms the user whether the con­tent can be used for a prof­itable ven­ture. The cre­ator may also have some spe­cial re­quire­ments to meet, such as telling them you have used the im­age, and where.

In this con­text, there a new Cu­ra­tor’s Code has been un­veiled. The sys­tem aims to cod­ify the “at­tri­bu­tion of dis­cov­ery in cu­ra­tion as a cur­rency of the in­for­ma­tion econ­omy”, which would hon­our the “creative and in­tel­lec­tual labour of in­for­ma­tion dis­cov­ery by mak­ing at­tri­bu­tion con­sis­tent and cod­i­fied, cel­e­brat­ing au­thors and cre­ators and also re­spect­ing those who dis­cover and am­plify their work”.

The Cu­ra­tor’s Code, as the cre­ators Maria Popova and Si­mon Du­menco have la­belled it, are sim­ply two Uni­code char­ac­ters, like ™ for trade­mark and © for copy­right, that make the dis­tinc­tion be­tween what pub­li­ca­tion in­spired an ar­ti­cle com­pared to what ar­ti­cle has been ex­cerpted. To be ex­act, Popova writes: stands for “via” and sig­ni­fies a di­rect link of dis­cov­ery, to be used when you sim­ply re­post a piece of con­tent you found else­where, with lit­tle or no mod­i­fi­ca­tion or ad­di­tion.

stands for the com­mon “HT” or “hat tip,” sig­ni­fy­ing an in­di­rect link of dis­cov­ery, to be used for con­tent you sig­nif­i­cantly mod­ify or ex­pand upon com­pared to your source, for story leads, or for in­di­rect in­spi­ra­tion en­coun­tered else­where that led you to cre­ate your own orig­i­nal con­tent.

Ac­cord­ing to Cu­ra­tor’s Code cre­ator Maria Popova, “The rea­son for the uni­codes is that, un­der the sys­tem we’re propos­ing, us­ing them on­line helps prop­a­gate the ethos of the project. The char­ac­ters are hot- linked to the Cu­ra­tor’s Code web­site, so click­ing them leads a cu­ri­ous reader to the site, which ar­tic­u­lates the ethos of at­tri­bu­tion. This is the big­ger point and main mes­sage – why at­tri­bu­tion mat­ters, not how to at­tribute in tech­ni­cal terms.”

This can be one vi­tal step to­wards the for­ma­tion of a true in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety.

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