March 15, 2005

Creative Commons Search Engine

Creative Commons, the non-profit that offers flexible copyright licenses to creators, recently launched an updated beta version of its search engine that allows users to scour the Web for works that are either released under their alternative licensing schemes or are in the public domain.

The new search engine indexes over 5 million pages with links to audio, image, text, video and other files that can be re-used in a variety of ways without permission from the copyright holder.

For example, a search on “Beastie Boys” audio files yields links to a track that was released under a Creative Commons sampling license that allows users to copy pieces of the song, but requires attribution and prohibits wholesale copying and commercial use. The page also links to more than 30 other songs from artists that have used samples from the Beastie Boys’ track in their own work.

In light of the Pew Internet Project’s recent research that shows nearly half of all artists seek ideas and inspiration for creating their work online and one in four online artists seek public domain content via the internet, this search engine is ripe to be utilized by creators as well as the broader file-seeking public.