05/11/2010 11:56 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sharing is Caring

The slide show above includes examples of photos taken in Haiti that are available for various uses through the Creative Commons' license.

"Sharing is Caring" - at least that's a motto that applies to the copyright protection site, Creative Commons.

Founded in 2001, Creative Commons has been a champion of legal content sharing in a world where the phrase, "but I found it on the internet" has become an excuse to break copyright laws like, well, like they just don't exist.

I had never heard of Creative Commons until I started writing pieces about Haiti for The Huffington Post. Many photographers generously offered me their photos of the aftermath of the earthquake to accompany pieces and they all used the term, "it's available under a Creative Commons license."

I became very curious what "CC", as it is called by those in the know, was exactly and what role it was playing in news coverage of Haiti.

Eric Stueur of Creative Commons graciously offered me a telephone interview to explain a bit about CC, and how its unique licensing opportunities were used to directly benefit the Haitian relief efforts.

I went into the interview wondering how photographers working in a crisis situation could share their photos with the world yet still protect them as the source of their livelihood.

Instead, I learned so much more. I came out with an understanding of how even information can be proprietary and without a method in which it can be shared, even emergency efforts can be brought to a stand still.

Creative Commons - Eric Steuer by The Lone Olive

If you are not familiar with what a copyright is, here is the Wikipedia link:

They certainly do a better job of explaining it than I could ever do. You might be surprised what a large role it plays in our daily lives.

If you have a photo, footage, a design or an idea that you'd like to share that might help with the rebuilding of Haiti, Creative Commons is a perfect way to do that while still protecting the integrity of the original work or idea.

I will be posting a Part Two of "Sharing is Caring" this week. It will include interviews about projects working to rebuild Haiti that rely on the Creative Commons' license to share important information that is changing people's lives on the ground in Haiti right now.