Opening up Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a wonderful initiative to make it possible for mere mortals to allow other such beings to make use of their works in ways that they deem acceptable. It is a system that is at once based on traditional copyright law and yet provides a modern alternative to it. Personally, I try to license as much of my work as possible under CC licenses. This includes the content of this blog as well as the collaborative work that comprises the OSFlash wiki.

For an initiative that aims to make it easy to share data and intellectual property, however, Creative Commons can appear, at first sight, to be very un-Web-2.0 [do not sue me O'Reilly]. A developer who happens to casually surf the CC website can easily leave thinking that the only way to integrate a CC license into her web application is to use an ugly HTML-based system that requires users to be redirected to the CC website. She may be left thinking, as I was: "Where is my open Creative Commons API?"

The good news is that it exists. The bad news is that information about it (and other APIs) is well hidden!

Here are three relevant links where you can learn about the Creative Commons REST API and other developer aids:

And here are a few other links to important Creative Commons pages: The Creative Commons initiative is currently lacking two important things: The first is widespread support for embedding Creative Commons licenses in third-party applications and the second, and most important thing, is a solid search solution for Creative Commons content. There are several search solutions for CC content but none of them provide an easy means to narrow down a search by license. Hopefully, better visibility of the developer APIs will spur new developments in these areas.