Publishers Are Using Creative Commons to Encourage Content Sharing

About four years ago, I wrote about The 19th. I came across their work because they’re a PublishPress customer.

One thing about the 19th that’s particularly interesting for WordPress users is their overlap with open-source ideas.

Since the day they launched, The 19th has shared its content using a Creative Commons license. These licenses normally allow anyone to republish your content so long as you provide credit to the original author. Creative Commons is similar to the open source GPL license used for WordPress, except that Creative Commons is normally used for content rather than code.

The 19th say that its work is “Free-to-consume and free-to-republish”. If you follow their guidelines, you’re free to re-use all their content. Every post on The 19th has a “share box” like this:

The 19th has now gone a step further and formed The 19th News Network, which is a new collective of publishers. The whole goal is to share and republish stories as widely as possible.

The 19th is not alone in this approach. Almost every time I find a new publisher, they’re using a Creative Commons license. Here are some examples:

Why would publishers do this? The key is that most new publishers are very active and open to collaboration. We’re in such a fragmented media environment that partnerships and sharing make a ton of sense. In 2024, a single publisher can reach more than a fraction of the potential audience for each story. Creative Commons is one very useful tool to encourage widespread sharing. Other websites don’t need to ask for permission to share your story. This is a frictionless way to increase the possible audience for your content.

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