Users of Microsoft Office can now choose one of the Creative Commons licenses for work created in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Microsoft and Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works, partnered with 3sharp LLC, a Redmond, Wash.-based independent solution provider to develop and test this new copyright licensing tool, known as the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office.
This new copyright licensing tool lets the 400 million users of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint choose one of several Creative Commons licenses from within the specific application, Microsoft and the Creative Commons announced June 21.
This new tool, which is available for download at no cost from Microsoft Office Online or Creative Commons, lets users choose from a variety of Creative Commons licenses that let an author retain copyright ownership, yet permit the work to be copied and distributed.
The license also allows some restrictions, such as whether the work can be modified and used commercially. It also lets users dedicate a work to the public domain.
The full list of Creative Commons licenses can be found here.
The goal of Creative Commons is to provide authors and artists with "simple tools to mark their creative work with the freedom they intend it to carry," said Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford Law School and the founder of Creative Commons, in a statement.
Craig Mundie, the newly appointed chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, said the move would bring "fresh and collaborative thinking on copyright licensing to authors and artists of all kinds … Were committed to removing barriers to the sharing of ideas across borders and cultures, and are offering this copyright tool in that spirit."
For his part Gilberto Gil, the cultural minister of Brazil and who has released one of the first documents using the Creative Commons add-in for Microsoft Office, welcomed the move by "big companies like Microsoft working with nonprofits to make it easier for artists and creators to distribute their works."
Brazil is also the host nation for the Creative Commons iSummit, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from June 23-25, where the copyright licensing tool will be featured.
Ian Angell, a professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics, said the new tool would let an author easily embed licenses to creative works during the innovation process.
This was an important step in ensuring that people became aware of not only their own intellectual property rights but also the rights of others.
The LSE partners with Creative Commons to drive Creative Commons license adoption and awareness in England and Wales.