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28 November 2005
Early in 2005 the company Inteli and Dr Pedro Oliveira, a professor at the School of Economics at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, announced a joint project to adapt the Creative Commons licences to Portuguese copyright law. Oliveira is coordinating the team which will translate and adapt the licences, while Inteli aims to encourage a national community of Creative Commons licence users. The finalization of the Portuguese licences and the launch of the Portuguese Creative Commons website are expected before the end of 2005.
The licences, created by the US-based organization Creative Commons, have gained substantial worldwide support since their introduction in 2001. They first appeared in connection with so-called 'copyleft' movements, which advocate the free distribution and use of creative works, whether for cultural or scientific purposes. They do not conflict with copyright, but merely encourage the use and distribution of copyright material in cases where authors or other creative rights holders wish to allow such freedom rather than reserving all rights.
It is normally necessary to obtain permission from the author or other copyright holder for each use of copyrighted material: this is almost always the case for literary or musical works. By expressly authorizing certain types of use, Creative Commons licences reduce the need to contact intermediaries.
A number of standard licences have been created, most notably the GNU General Public Licence. However, this licence was intended mainly to be used in software licensing rather than the licensing of musical or literary works, although a GNU licence is also available for documents.
Creative Commons licences are standard-form licences originally intended to be used under US copyright law. If an author wishes a work to be freely available for use by anyone, he or she may publish it under the attribution licence, known as 'by'. This allows anyone to copy and distribute the work, provided that it is attributed to the author.
This basic licence may be combined with one or more further conditions, such as:
A 'by-nc-sa' licence entitles users to distribute and change the work, provided that no commercial use is made of it and the resulting works are also distributed under the same licence.
The concept has spread rapidly; authors now publish works under Creative Commons licences all over the world. The licences have been not only translated but also adapted to the specific requirements of the legal system, a process which is still ongoing in numerous jurisdictions.
Computer versions of the Creative Commons licences, consisting of metadata that may be included in web pages, allow internet users to search for works under Creative Commons licences through search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or Nutch. Nutch is an open-source, web-based search engine which allows users to search for material according to the format of the work: audio, image, interactive, text or video.
For further information on this topic please contact César Bessa Monteiro at Abreu Cardigos & Associados by telephone (+351 21 7231800) or by fax (+ 351 21 7231899) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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César Bessa Monteiro