Copyright your Office docs with Creative Commons

Here’s a very useful new feature from Microsoft and Creative Commons, announced yesterday – the ability to embed a Creative Commons copyright license directly in your Word, PowerPoint or Excel file.

This is something I’ve been doing for a while, especially with PowerPoint presentations. But it’s been a manual process and a bit fiddly to do.

Now, all you need to do is just install the add-in for Office 2003 or XP. Then you get a new item called ‘Creative Commons’ in the File menu. It’s basically a wizard which you run to choose which type of copyright license, in which jurisdiction, etc, you wish to attach to the document.

Once it’s done, you get something like this inserted at the cursor point in your Word document:

It includes a link to the detailed license description at the Creative Commons website so anyone can go there to read the precise terms of what you’re permitting with your document.

Not only that, the wizard also adds concise information about your Creative Commons copyright license to the ‘custom’ tab in the document’s file properties, as you can see here. That means the license rights are effectively embedded in your document.

So if anyone removes the information that’s inserted into the body of your document, information about what you’ve licensed under copyright is still within the document, in those document properties.

I think this will go a long way to helping people focus on intellectual property rights protection more than has been the case to date. Do you know anyone who, outside of blogs, routinely adds CC licensing to their work? I don’t.

It will also help propagate much greater awareness of Creative Commons and copyright licensing in general, which I think is a very good thing.

It’s unlikely to stop outright copyright theft, but at least it gives you the means to make it very clear indeed what you’re permitting others to do with your work. Honest people do pay attention to such things.

Download the add-in here. Note that if you’re running any version of Office 2007 beta 2, it will not install – you must be running Office 2003 or Office XP.

[Technorati: creative commons]

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. neville

    I think it will help people focus on that, Tris. Certainly should raise awareness of rights. You can also specify that your rights are open, ie, no copyright restrictions. Key thing, you can make it pretty clear what the rights are.

    Cool indeed.

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