We are active bloggers and journalists, and we have been working hard since March to make life easier for us – and for all other bloggers, professional journalists and big media companies out there.
We have created a tool called (yeah, you guessed) Collapick. It’s a software tool enabling the use of Creative Commons material simply and efficiently.
Let me start by praising Creative Commons: They’re awesome.
The amount of material published under Creative Commons license grows at an incredible pace, and an increasing number of commercial media and private individuals make use of Creative Commons material.
The bad news is, finding and using Creative Commons licensed material depends on the user’s own knowledge and expertise. There are many different levels of license agreements, and a user unfamiliar with the subject may not understand them thoroughly.
Then the good news: we have solved the problem. Collapick enables the use of Creative Commons material respecting the terms of the license and without the user having to become familiar with the nuances of various licenses. Collapick helps the user to find Creative Commons material, pick them from any website and use them on a site or a blog.
Now, to make this a bit more clear, let’s meet our friends (fine, our secret identities) The Blogger and The Professional Journalist.
I’m a blogger. I started telling about my life and interests to my friends, but nowadays I have almost 1500 followers. Isn’t that great!
I’d like my posts to be as nice as possible, so I’m adding lots of photos and videos. I’m not much of a photographer, so I prefer to use pictures by someone who actually knows what (s)he’s doing. I don’t want to pay for those photos, so I use stuff published under the Creative Commons license. But I’m telling you, it’s not easy!
First, I need to find my photo. Sure, it’ easy to find a Creative Commons licensed picture of a cat, but if you need, say, a photo of this season’s white and blue tunic with khaki pants, it suddenly gets much harder.
I finally found my photo! Now I have to add it to my blog. I copy, save, then go to my blog, add, and finally publish the photo. It’s not rocket science, but I’m wondering if this could be done a bit faster.
Oh, yeah, before I publish, what were those license agreements again? Crap, can’t really member what these symbols mean. It says I can “adapt”, “modify” or “build on”, but what does that mean? Should I credit someone? What kind of symbols do I have to add to my blog post? I mean, how am I supposed to remember what all of these tiny pictures are about?
I don’t really want to go through all those agreements again. Should I just use the photo and hope no one will notice I’m breaking the copyright?
Luckily I can use Collapick. Let’s log in!
First, Collapick will help me to find the photo I need. It’s not just a meta search engine, such as Creative Commons’ own Search but a database of Creative Commons material (text, photos, video).
There, I found my photo! I don’t have to save it to the computer or copy and paste the photo’s web address to my blog. I simply click the photo, and voilà! Collapick added the photo to my blog.
But not just the photo. Collapick also automatically added all the information that needed to go with the photo. I don’t have to keep adding and remembering all the Creative Commons licenses. Collapick will recognise the license and add all the necessary info to my blog.
The Professional Journalist
I’m a professional journalist. Our magazine has 50 000 readers and almost twice as much people will visit our site every month. We use freelance photographers, but we also use photos published under Creative Commons.
There’s a lot of good stuff there! Even the very big media companies know that. Many of them, like BBC, NBC and Al Jazeera, use and produce more and more Creative Commons licensed material.
I just hope it would be easier to find and use it.
Luckily I can use Collapick. Let’s log in!
I do the same things that my pal The Blogger did. Collapick helps me to find and add photos to our site.
When I signed in, I told Collapick I’m going to use the photos on my magazine’s website. If I try to use a photo I should not use – for example, one that can be used only for non-commercial purposes – Collapick warns me. This way I don’t accidentally break the copyright without noticing.
So there. We believe that simplifying complex license terms will interest both media businesses and private individuals. A user unfamiliar with licenses may use Collapick to exploit Creative Commons materials reliably and within the bounds of copyright law, letting the software do the work. The amount of free, readily available information increases, it becomes easier to use and the possibilities for communication improve significantly.
What have we been up to since March?
Mostly coding. We have three people working with the code and one doing the graphic design. Testing of the second version has been going on for a month now, but we still want to make many improvements before we introduce Collapick to the big audience.