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WebSite, Design and Web Hosting News - Microsoft Offers Free Copyright Add-In for Office
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Microsoft Offers Free Copyright Add-In for Office

2006-06-23 06:53:00

Microsoft and Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that provides flexible copyright licenses, have hooked up to create an add-in for Microsoft Office applications that will enable people, particularly writers and other creators, to protect their creative works automatically.

The add-in is essentially a digital copyright licensing tool for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It is available for free from the Microsoft Office site and the Creative Commons site.

"We're delighted to work with Creative Commons to bring fresh and collaborative thinking on copyright licensing to authors and artists of all kinds," said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, in a statement.

Automatic License

The goal of the Creative Commons licenses is to give an author a clearer ability to express his or her intentions regarding the use of the work.

The add-in allows users to choose from several Creative Commons licenses that enable an author to retain copyright ownership, yet permit the work to be copied and distributed with certain possible restrictions, such as whether or not the work can be used commercially and whether or not modifications can be made to the work.

To kick off the new software, the first document to be licensed using this tool is the text of a speech by Brazillian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, whose country is the host nation for the Creative Commons iSummit in Rio de Janeiro.

Lawrence Lessig, noted professor of law at Stanford, applauded Microsoft's partnership with Creative Commons. "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," he said in a statement.

Simple, Meaningful

The plug-in for Microsoft Office comes at a time when more and more people are publishing their creative works -- from writing and photos to digital videos -- on the Internet.

The software is designed to make it much easier for these people, most of whom know little about copyright licenses, to indicate how they would like their creative works to be protected.

Joe Wilcox, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said the new add-in makes sense if people are creating and placing works online and would want to attach ownership rights to them. "Creative Commons is taking something complex and making it simple, yet meaningful," he said.

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