Are there ways of going beyond copyright when it comes to promoting and sharing original work and content online? Yes, think of Creative Commons, which has been relaunched in India.

The multiple options available these days for sharing content using the range of licences that are being promoted in the Creative Commons domain were in focus at the recent relaunch of Creative Commons India.

The Creative Commons(CC) licenses, which provide more options compared to the traditional copyright licence for sharing creative work and digital content, and permit its creators to set the conditions for such sharing, has gained global traction. Compared to the traditional copyright licence, which is very restrictive in nature, CC licenses enable authors fine-grained ways of deciding on the rights they would like to retain over their work.

As the Creative Commons website explains, "Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs." The activities of the Commons, which is a non-profit organisation, are driven by volunteers in different parts of the world through more than 100 afiliates working in over 70 jurisdictions.

The relaunch of Creative Commons India took place under the aegis of Wikimedia India, Centre for Internet and Society, and Acharya Narendra Dev College in New Delhi on November 12.

"Generally the licenses are written in a manner such that they are applicable across the world. They are based on provisions in the UN mediated agreements to which many nations are signatories," said Wikimedia public lead Sowmyan Tirumurti. Porting these to a specific nation's laws could help users take advantage of these; porting of version 2.5 of the CC licence to Indian law was done by the "pioneers who took the initiative to launch CC India some years ago. The current version of the licenses are 3.0. Users can very well use this version," he said in response to a question as to whether more India-specific versions of the licences were being planned.

The Creative Commons India website says that it would aim to raising awareness of licenses and open educational resources. It would connect with photography communities because there was a dearth of free-licensed images related to India. It also hoped to build free licence repositories.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, who was the chief guest at the event, had earlier at the launch of the National Repository of Open Education Resources (NROER) emphasised the need for such resources to be freely accessible to all. He said he had advocated a minimally restrictive Creative Commons licence version for the NROER content, which made it possible to "reuse, revise, remix and redistribute" it.

NROER aims to offer educational resources for school subjects in different languages including text books videos, audio clips, multimedia, photographs, diagrams, charts, articles and wiki pages.