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Creative Commons in Soundcloud

For my post Traditional Knowledge as Intellectual Property: Interview with Dr. Alan Boraas, I used Soundcloud to host the audio recording I created from the interview.

Conveniently, Soundcloud offers options for adding Creative Commons rights to each file you share.

Before I added the rights, I formally asked permission of Dr. Boraas, the interviewee, if he was alright with the parameters. I explained each piece of CC.

Dr. Boraas agreed and added :

“We should share it in the same spirit it was created”.

Here are the options Soundcloud offers, and you can see which option I chose. We both agreed we wanted attribution and non-commercial use, as is common in academia. We further agreed it would be okay to use derivative works and we wanted to encourage a further CC rights on the new work.

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Soundcloud offers additional permission settings, and I has to enable downloads (off by default) which I am fine with, since we created the piece. An additional consideration for enabling this feature is allowing people to download and listen offline later, on iTune for example, which is important for our students in low bandwidth areas and those working camp jobs on rotation on the North Slope.

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Here is what the final license looks like on the clip’s public page.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 10.37.24 PM

An appropriate use of this content under the parameters set would be if someone downloaded it, cut a short 2 minute clip out, and re-uploaded to Soundcloud, as long they linked back to our original and added CC to it. They could even remix it into a video or add it to a larger audio file or story, as long as that work was not being sold.

An inappropriate use of this content could occur if someone downloaded the content, cut out a clip, and added it to a video that is sold commercially, even if they referenced us. Another layer would be to upload non-commercially, and pass off as their own, or not attribute.

Published inIntellectual Property


  1. One caveat to the inappropriate use scenario: even with a CC license like this, Fair Use still applies…so it’s *conceivable* that someone could use a clip fairly in the way you describe, but it would depend on how much they used, the context that was provided around it, etc.

    Just a reminder that CC licenses work cooperatively with Copyright and its provision for fair use, but can’t abrogate them!

  2. Sarah Sarah

    oh good point, I guess I knew that but didn’t put it in., but important for our larger conversation. Also I had to look up “abrogate”- relevant term to know!

    I updated the post and added a shot of the final license on the public clip which took me some searching to find.

  3. Brenda Noe Brenda Noe

    Thank you for sharing the information on SoundCloud. All this is still so new to me, but I am becoming more comfortable with it all.

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