Creative Commons vs Public Domain: Difference and Comparison

For doing any authorized work, we need to have a license issued. A license is a paper issued by the government to the people as a permission card or paper with the help of which they can do their work without any disturbance and interruption by other organizations or people. Generally, license-making takes time as it is a government process, and it needs to be signed by the officials as proof.

Creative Commons and Public Domain are both related to the work rights of a person, whereas Creative Commons is a license-issuing organization that issues licenses to people who want to make their creations or work safely without letting anyone steal their work. While the Public Domain is a place where people can submit their work without issuing licenses.

Key Takeaways

  1. Creative Commons allows creators to specify how their work can be used, while Public Domain works have no restrictions on use.
  2. Creative Commons provides a middle ground between copyright and Public Domain.
  3. Creative Commons licenses can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the creator.

Creative Commons vs Public Domain

The difference between Creative Commons and Public Domain is that Creative Commons secures the work of a person by generating a license, and if someone tries to use that work unethically, then the original person can claim the copyright. On the other hand, Public Domain is free from copyright claims, and the works present there are free to use.

Creative Commons vs Public Domain

Creative Commons is created for users’ security and privacy as it does not allow the work to be accessible to the public without permission from the original content creator. All the rights of the owner are safe and protected in this organization. It is a non-profit organization that also issues licenses to the real creators of the work that helps them to make their work more secure from fraudulent usage.

Public Domain is just the opposite of Creative Commons as it allows people to use and modify the work forms of other people without any issues. In this organization, all the work present is copyrighted free, which means there are no restrictions in using work forms on any platform. Public Domain is a very old organization in this field, and nobody owns it.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCreative CommonsPublic Domain
DefinitionCreative Commons refers to a group that helps people protect their art, craft, and other art forms from misuse by issuing licenses to them. Public Domain is an institute or organization that issues art forms or other works to the people for free, and there is no copyright issue.
LimitationsThere are many restrictions like designation, copyright, non-commercial and share-alike. There are almost no limitations on using any work on any platform unless the original holder of the work preserves the rights back.
FounderThree people created the idea of making Creative Commons and are Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, and Hal Abelson. No one holds the rights of the Public Domain organization it is only for the public, and it has been used since the 17th century.
AlterationsThere is no chance of doing any alterations to work in the Creative Commons only the original holder can do it. Anyone can make alterations to the work, but sometimes permission is needed from the owner of the work.
ProtectionThere is full protection for the work, the license is generated, and privacy is also maintained. No protection is needed as the work or the art form is free from any copyright issues.
Public usePeople may use it if they want, but before that, they need to access the permission of the owner. All the rights of the work are free to use without any reclamation or restrictions.

What are Creative Commons?

Creative Commons was first in the United States of America, but now it works all over the world. Firstly the main domain was the education field, but as the organization kept growing, the domains extended from education to many more fields like art, music, etc. Here all the works are legally accessed, and no modification can be done without permission or the licenses.

This organization was founded in 2001, and the founders are Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, and Hal Abelson. Creative Commons has generated so many types of copyright licenses and copyright methods for its clients. And it the organization has named this method the Creative Commons license. These licenses are created in a balanced way so that both owners and other users can get benefits without any illegal access.

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Creative Commons has its main head office in California, and the chief executive officer of that headquarter is Catherine Stihler. The license issued to its client contains several symbols explaining their dos and don’t.

creative commons

What is Public Domain?

Public Domain has been present in our society since the late 18th century. This not-for-profit organisation is free and accessible to almost anyone in the world. This organisation’s work forms are free from copyright issues or expired copyright licenses. Several big author works are present in this organization, for example, the work of Shakespeare, Leonardo Vinci, etc.

The Public Domain system may differ in other countries as some restrictions may be present, and to access the work, people need to pursue permissions from the work’s original author. Modifying any reserved work can be done with legal procedures only. Public Domain also contains films that never had a copyright license or expired license.

The symbol of Public Domain contains a copyright symbol ‘C‘ with a ‘no’ symbol, which shows that the work or the content present here is free from any copyright claim and can be reused or republished.

Main Differences Between Creative Commons and Public Domain

  1. Creative Commons refers to a group that helps people protect their art, craft and other art forms from misuse by issuing licenses to them. Whereas Public Domain is an institute or organization that issues art forms or other works to the people for free, and there is no copyright issue.
  2. In Creative Commons, people may use the work if they want, but before that, they need to access the permission of the owner. While in Public Domain, all the rights of the work are free to use without any reclamation or restrictions.
  3. No one holds the rights of the Public Domain organization. It is only for the public and has been used since the 18th century. Whereas three people who initiated the idea of making Creative Commons and are Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle, and Hal Abelson.
  4. In Creative Commons, there is full protection for the work, the license is generated, and privacy is also maintained. On the other hand, no protection is needed in Public Domain as the work or the art form is free from any copyright issue.
  5. In Public Domain, there are almost no limitations on using any work on any platform unless the original holder of the work preserves the rights back. In contrast, Creative Commons has many restrictions, like designation issues, copyright issues, non-commercial and share-alike.
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References
  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/montlr65&section=6
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/emlj39&section=42

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Creative Commons vs Public Domain: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The in-depth explanations about the origins of Creative Commons and Public Domain are very interesting. It’s clear that both have important roles in protecting creators’ rights.

    Reply
  2. It’s fascinating to learn about the historical background of Public Domain and how it has evolved over time. The explanation of the copyright symbol and its meaning is particularly noteworthy.

    Reply
  3. The discussion of the symbols used in Creative Commons and Public Domain licenses adds an interesting dimension to the comparison of these two systems.

    Reply
  4. The comparison table is a helpful way to visualize the distinctions between Creative Commons and Public Domain. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to understand these concepts.

    Reply
  5. Very informative post, it’s clear that Creative Commons and Public Domain have different purposes and provide different levels of protection for creators’ work.

    Reply
  6. It’s interesting to see the evolution of Creative Commons from its origins in education to its expansion into other fields. The discussion of the differences with Public Domain is enlightening.

    Reply
  7. The post does a great job of detailing the functions and purposes of Creative Commons and Public Domain. It’s clear that each serves a distinct purpose in protecting intellectual property.

    Reply
  8. This post clearly outlines the key differences between Creative Commons and Public Domain, providing a comprehensive comparison of the two.

    Reply

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