Our CC0 Policy & What It Means for Competitions

What's CC0 mean? Why does it matter? And what's with the announcement?

Read more on the Creative Commons (CC0) and how this will effect future competitions on Movellas



So we all remember a while back a fantastic, albeit a little lengthy, blog by @The Intelligence Division in regards to licensing and different licenses for art, writing, and just general creativity?


Creative Commons is the name to remember here, guys, because a big change is coming to Movellas:

Work posted on Movellas after March 21, 2016 must only use resources that are licensed under CC0 or Public Domain.


Shock! Horror!

But what does it mean?


*Do not stop reading now – yes it’s legal blathering, but it’s also extremely important.*


A Wikipedia definition of the Public Domain:

“Works in the public domain are those whose exclusive intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable.”

Well that definition sucks.

Let’s take it apart.


‘Works’ (i.e... creative stuff that someone worked on) in the ‘Public Domain’ (that thing we keep coming back to) do not have ‘rights’ (i.e.. legal stuff) that tells you what you can and can’t do with them. 


Not all ‘works’ have a home to go to. When there isn’t a home for them, they get placed in the ‘Public Domain’. The Public Domain is like a big box where artists put stuff if they want anyone, anywhere to be able to use their work without restriction.


Things usually get put in the public domain under two circumstances:

  1. If it is over 50 years since the death of the original artist (assuming no one has bought the rights in that time).
  2. If an artist puts it in the public domain by licensing it under ‘CC0’ or ‘No Rights Reserved’.



So what does this mean for Movellas?

From here on out, you can only use resources in your work that belong either entirely to you or to nobody.

After March 21, 2016, when looking for resources to build your newest covers and trailers out of, you must only use works that are listed as public domain.


This isn’t actually so bad – the public domain has literally billions of works in it, and you can use the advanced search options on any good search engine to only list results in the public domain.


The only exception:

If you’re creating something that will be listed as a fan work, then you may use resources relating to your chosen fan-base (or combination of fan-bases), but it must be listed as fanfiction when you release it on Movellas.


Ah hah! But I see a loophole here: If I use whatever the hell I want, all I have to do is list it as fanfiction and no one will notice!


Tut tut, foolish mortal.

It actually has to be fanfiction to be listed as fanfiction. A moderator will look at what you’ve actually written before acting on the flag.


So what happens if you break this new rule?

We’ll find where you live, track you down, and make you sorry...

If your work is found to use non-public domain resources and it is not fanfiction, your work will be changed back to a draft. You will be contacted in regards to changes you will need to make before you can republish it. If you republish without making those changes, your work will be deleted.


What does this mean for works published before March 21, 2016?

Nothing, yet.


What does this mean for the cover/trailer I’ve nearly finished with non-public domain images in it?

Sorry, but your cover/trailer will have to be re-done. The rule applies to things published after March 21, 2016.



What does this mean for flagging? How and what should I flag?


Before flagging something for use of non-public domain resources


Check that it was published after March 21, 2016. Also check that it is actually a non-public domain resource they're using and not just one that might be – remember things get put in the public domain 50 years after the death of the original author (usually), so lots of really smart looking stuff (I.e. all the old 'Flash Gordon’ serials, if you like that sort of thing) is out there waiting for some smart artist to come along and use it.



Check whether it is fanfiction or not. If it’s been listed as fiction and it’s fanfiction, all the writer needs is a helpful, friendly, and informal comment telling them they should list it as fanfiction, otherwise it could get flagged for use of non-public domain resources by someone who might not choose to look as closely as you did.



If it uses non-public domain resources and it isn’t fanfiction (whatever it’s listed as), then you should flag it. Don’t take the law into your own hands and comment on it – it’s impolite, unbecoming, and just generally unpleasant. The whole point of the ‘flag’ button being there is so that lawbreakers can be dealt with in the proper manner (insert public domain image of ‘Judge Dredd’ here).




Always be nice to new users!



How are my covers/trailers licensed when I've finished them?

The point of CC0 and the public domain is that you can do what you like. Your covers still carry with them almost exactly the same legal stuff they've always done – but from now on it's just your legal stuff – no one else’s. Nothing from CC0 resources is carried forwards when you modify it, so now your stuff belongs to you (not to the people whose resources you've used).

Resources you create yourself obviously belong entirely to you. Naturally, this is allowed and encouraged.


And, finally

Why Public Domain? What is the reason/point of this change?

There’s a load of legal stuff that goes on behind the scenes at Movellas. For every image you throw around, there’s another load of legal stuff that follows it. Usually, it makes no difference, but every now and again, there’s some grumpy old person with too much time on their hands who comes along and makes life a misery for the Movellas Team.

To stop this from ever being a problem, the Team have decided to require all users to only make use of Public Domain resources.


Becoming acquainted with the Public Domain is also important to developing as an artist. There’s a lot of stuff out there and most of it is very good and extremely impressive. It’s also an incentive to rely more on resources you can create yourself. If you're still scrambling around worrying 'I'm a writer, not an artist’ then get out of the dark ages, man! All creativity is the same creativity and making a cover for your work is perhaps one of the best things you could be doing to get better 'in’ to your story.

Failing that of course, you could just politely ask one of Movellas' lovely helpful cover stores to help you out (all of whom will also be required to work in CC0 from now on as well...)


So, below in the comments, we need people to question, discuss, and complain about this new change, so you can all get perfectly acquainted with it before it happens.


Please share good sites for CC0 resources and ask all your questions before the date. It's a big change, and somewhat sudden, but we're hoping it'll go smoothly.


Keep being amazing,

-All at Movellas



Thank you to @The Intelligence Division for writing this blog & helping us understand the new CC0 policy :-)


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