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Creative Comomns licenses are probably most widely used throughout the blogsphere to describe the terms under which the content is available. However, these licenses can be used for nearly any type of content. Indeed on a project I was on where we needed sample images there were concerns over licenses more than what the images were even of. To resolve this I whipped up some, admittedly awful, art and quickly choose the Public Domain license and distributed the images. Problem solved. As great as this is the terms are described, I gather, in US legalistic jargon. If you hang around SAP long enough (an hour? less?) you realize German law is different and much more… verbose is probably the correct word here. Well today the Creative Commons officially launched a German compliant set of licenses and plans to roll out more in a series of countries in the near future.

I find this interesting on a number of levels. Obviously as a blogger I like the idea of being able to express my wishes on how the content I create should be used on my own terms without needing to hire a lawyer to do so. As a technologist I am intrigued as these licenses are expressed in an XML dialect called RDF that is an underpinning of all semantic web related technologies. As RDF data spins out across the net in applications like this the semantic web starts to take shape. How much longer before we start to see toolkits showing up that are more than research projects? How long before enterprse class applications emerge that build off this rich set of information that is accumulating out there?

On a more general point though, it is fantastic to see organizations like the Creative Commons taking a true world view to make their work locally applicable in a diverse set of nations and gives me something to think about on how our world is continuing to interconnect people with ideas and each other across artificial boundries.

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