Frequently Asked Questions
What are the registration steps?
First, you have to decide, under which license you want to register your works. The license explains the terms under which others will be granted to view, use or share your work. You can select one of the Creative Commons licenses, GNU GPL, Sampling licenses or you may put a work into the Public Domain. If you do not want to grant any rights, choose the option "All rights reserved".
Describe your work
You have to describe details about your work for the Registered Commons Catalogue: Author(s) and Contributors, Title, Keywords, Media type, Language, Moral Rights and more can be entered. In most countries, moral rights describe, in which circumstances you don't want your work being published at all.
Upload the work and we will calculate the hash code and provide a time stamp.
Now you can link to the certificate and anybody can download a pdf certificate (contains all metadata, user info, trust levels and hash). We can also snail-mail a stamped and signed version for a fee, if you need to attach the certificate to a contract.
Hint: If you would like to embed a registration code into your work, you can pre-order a GRID code in advance. This will be e-mailed to you and you can copy and paste it into your document, before you upload it to Registered Commons.
Which files can be uploaded?
You can upload any file, as long as it conforms to our fair use principles. The file name should NOT contain any special characters such as an apostrophe, but simply characters, numbers underline and a point with a suffix.
What is RegisteredCommons about?
Since the dawn of the Internet Era it has become increasingly difficult to publish creative work (online) while maintaining control over intellectual property rights. The bottom line is once released on the world wide web types of use and destination of your work are basically out of control. Ultimately, someone might even claim your work as theirs. But how are you going to prove that you are indeed the author of a series of blog entries that have become the new hype overnight? And how will you claim your role as Director of Photography of the new Sitcom thousands of people all of a sudden want to watch online?
That's where RegisteredCommons sets in. At RegisteredCommons you can securely register your authorship of your creativing workings, no matter if it's photography, poetry, a series of videos or an open source software project. The service is aimed, first and foremost, at people who like to share their workings under less restrictive licensing terms than the very constrictive All-rights-reserved regime, but it is not limited to works under a Creative Commons or the General Public License. If you prefer to have complete control over what is happening with your work, i.e. if you use the All-rights-reserved model, you can also register your authorship with RegisteredCommons.
Who is RegisteredCommons for?
RegisteredCommons is a service for professionals in the creative sector. Creators obtain a digital timestamp and thus can better proof their authorship. And users of digital works can look-up the conditions, under which a work may be (re-)used at a trusted third party.
Can I sell my work here?
Yes. After successful registration, you can go back to your work and provide more permissions to your work while asking for money. We can handle the payment (and take some fee), or you can request to be contacted by e-mail or we'll route you to a clearing partner (contact us, if you are interested).
Example: Caroline had registered a photo under a non-commercial license. Now she wants to offer it for commercial use as well. She just logs into RegisteredCommons.org and goes to "My Works" to set the price. Peter sees Caroline's photo on her site, he clicks on the RC button. He immediately pays
for the commercial license and may use it for the magazine's layout.
You may consider to offer your work to the public. When someone pays the given price for your work, it will then be released under a CC-by license.
How long do you store data and who is responsible?
As a provider of the service, we ensure, that the hash codes will be stored for at least seven years after registration.
According to Austrian Digital Signature Law, our timestamp provider A-cert has to keep track timestamps for 35 years.
Your work is stored under fair use principles (yes, we have a plenty of disk space, but we might not store videos for an eternal period). In case you need a lot of space, contact us.
We run the service since 2006 without interruptions, except small service windows. The final responsibility keeping the hash code and the work is with you. We recommend that you print a copy of the certificate and keep it together with your work. In the very unlikely case we would need to shut down the service, we would try to keep alive at least the web-links to the certificates.
Can I revocate my registration or delete my account?
Once registered, somebody else could refer to the license of your work the other minute. That's why we do offer a withdrawal of a registration only in special circumstances, when there is a formal or legal requirement to do so, e.g. when we have been notified and we have proofed a copyright violation. Revocation requires manual interaction and exposes the work even brighter, as we need to tell the world that a work has been erronously registered under a specific license. Hence we also do not cancel accounts to keep the relation with your works. What you always can do is make your work invisible, however the description about it remains visible.
What is Full Copyright?
You own all copyrights by default and don't let anyone use your work. Depending on your legislation in your country, several rights are associated with your work: adaption, translation, reproduction, distribution, renting, broadcasting, public performance and the right for online distribution. You explicitly need to give rights to individuals or may assign rights to collecting associations.
How do I register a web page?
You can easily register a html page as a document. If you want to register a complete web page, you should save it for example with Firefox and then package it for example as one zip or tar file. Then you can timestamp this file with RC.
The entry field for a "Work URL" does not fetch files (yet). This may be a feature in the next release.
Who are the people behind RegisteredCommons?
RegisteredCommons is a service which has been established by a public-private partnership. The public partner, the University of Applied Sciences of Vorarlberg, located in the Austrian Alps close to the Swiss and German border, provided bandwidth and storage for the service from 2006 to 2009. Private partners have been organised in a co-op organisation, who mainly did business as the Open Source consultancy osAlliance and have taken over operations. The osAlliance has been merged into ALLMENDA in 2012, which has been operating RegisteredCommons and its sister service CreativDepot until 2015. In 2016, the IT and Cloud services have been split and moved to fairkom Gesellschaft, an NGO with a commercial service branch. In fact, the services are run by the same people, using umbrellas that fit best to meet smooth operations.
Who runs RegisteredCommons?
RegisteredCommons is hosted and supported by fairkom Gesellschaft, which is a not-for-profit organisation registered in Austria / Europe, close to the Swiss / German border. It is an umbrella, in which fairkom's members work on open source and commons public and commercial projects, together with the osAlliance.com partner network, which is also maintained by fairkom. All profits resulting from any activity, including the RegisteredCommons service, flow back to the development of an open culture, supporting open source and open content projects and services.
RegisteredCommons had been launched in 2006 at the "Wizards-of-Os-4" conference in Berlin. The need for an additional registration was the result of a research project in the "kompetenznetzwerk mediengestaltung", lead by the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences.
What are Moral Rights and how can I express them with RC?
When you register a work, in the submission form, in the section License Information you may enter how you wish your work to or not to be used.
Here you may indicate, where your work shall or shall not be used (e.g. by organisations, that support production of weapons). Or under which conditions you would allow for-profit use. However, this is not part of the legal license text. Still, anybody who looks up your license will see it.
Also see the CC FAQ for further reference:
What happens when I sign-up for RegisteredCommons?
From experience intellectual property rights are respected much more in the digital commons culture than in traditional copyright environments. The trend to Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools does not take place without any reason. Just think of the millions of illegal copies of Hollywood movies that are being distributed all over the world. DRM, however, will substantially narrow private use of legally acquired content. The strategy of many major companies to cope with challenges of the digital age is to downgrade their product. On the other side, many people have already started to realize the emerging possibilities of reaching large audiences by sharing their content online with less restrictive legal frameworks such as Creative Commons licences. Sharing online unfortunately also means higher chances of infringement. Moreover, copyright clearing procedures for services intending to use such content are becoming harder if not impossible since many workings are published without any copyright notice or contact information. If you register your workings with RegisteredCommons you will not entirely eliminate copyright infringements (which is impossible) but you will be able to produce evidence that you published that work at a certain date under certain license terms. Service providers interested in your work will be able to varify creatorship and licensing terms at RegisteredCommons.
Will I give up my Intellectual Property Rights at RegisteredCommons?
No. In fact, we observe that the ownership of works is more strongly respected in the digital commons culture, than in traditional copyright environments. If you publish a work online there is always a risk, that somebody uses it in a way, which is not allowed by the licence you granted. This might still happen, even if you registered your work. The difference if you registered your work here, is that with RegisteredCommons there is strong evidence, that you have published that work at a certain date and under a certain licence. Thus you can prove your Ownership of the work (Wortkreation:Urhebership) for example in a court case. On the other side we also help content providers to re-publish your work and make it more well-known, but still respect the licence agreement.
Can I register my works without RegisteredCommons?
While RegisteredCommons is an innovation in its own right, it builds upon a well-established idea. One could claim and proof creatorship by sending self-addressed sealed envelops containing their work via snail mail, the envelope's postmark serving as the date of registration. However, this method was never exactly brilliant. The service offered by RegisteredCommons advances the timestamp concept into the digital era, by incorporating the existing method with state-of-the-art security mechanisms.
Of course you can still go to that local postal office in your neighbourhood if you prefer to secure your rights of ownership the old-fashioned way, or consult a notary's office to deposit your work (a secure but rather expensive way to register your work). Other ways of registering your work are documented at our WIKI pages. RegisteredCommons offers a really easy way, to prove your authorship.
What's a hash code?
MD-5 is a widely used cryptographic hash function which is can be used to identify any file.
To compare a file on your harddisk with a registration at RegisteredCommons, you can use one of the following methods:
Under Apple OSX, use the shell-command: md5 <filename>, if you're using Linux, use md5sum <filename>. For Windows(TM), there is a little free software (GPL) tool: MD5 GUI.
You can get all the Metadata of any file registered at RegisteredCommons, by using it in the url as in the following example: http://www.registeredcommons.org/hash/99c3fbf3fdce324c69ae9b12a0334a56
For more detailed articles about hash functions, see Wikipedia: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_function
How can I gain trust at RegisteredCommons?
Based on the way we prove your identity we are assigning trust levels. Currently we support:
Trust Level 1: We check your e-mail address at registration.
Trust Level 3: You do a credit card transaction. We compare the name associated with it and the name you are providing with RegisteredCommons. In order to avoid abuse and to cover our operating and additional filing efforts we are asking for a substantial contribution.
Trust Level 4: We are looking up your e-mail address at CAcert's directory. To be listed there as a member of their Web of Trust, two people need to check two different identity documents at a personal meeting. Have a look at their FAQ, how to become assured at CAcert.
Gain trust level 3 for Company / Organisation (20% VAT tax applies).