If you have your own business in California where you produce unique projects or ideas, you may have already done some research on trademarks and copyright. Copyrighting your products is a way to protect them from being unlawfully copied or plagiarized. 

For example, if you are a musician and you want to get paid every time someone profits from using your work, copyrights  ensure this. Yet not all uses of your work are copyright violations if they fall under the principle of “fair use.” Creative Commons is a form of copyright license that utilizes fair use principles to facilitate easier sharing and innovation of ideas. 

How is Creative Commons different from copyright? 

Anytime you produce something in the U.S., it is automatically copyrighted, i.e. it is legally your intellectual property. Anyone who utilizes some portion of it must be sure that they are adhering to copyright laws. If someone violates your copyright, you may be able to pursue financial compensation via legal means. 

Creative Commons describes their licenses as working in collaboration with existing copyright laws. When you use a Creative Commons license, you are choosing to grant permission for people to use your work in certain ways which are specifically stated on the license itself. 

Should you use Creative Commons or copyright? 

If you want everyone to request your permission before using your intellectual property for any reason, standard copyright is probably the best option for you, as it implies “all rights reserved.” If, on the other hand, you want anyone to be able to use your work in certain ways, a Creative Commons license is probably better, as it stipulates “some rights reserved” while specifying exactly which rights you wish to give up.