RealTime IT News

Yahoo Offers Creative Commons Search

Yahoo took another step toward fulfilling a promise to make its portal a platform where communities develop, rather than a stagnant site limited to serving information.

The latest feature, released Thursday as a beta, allows users to search content hosted by Creative Commons, a nonprofit group that specializes in copyrighting material made available for limited reuse.

While most material on the Internet comes with a copyright, Yahoo Creative Commons will help developers and site owners find content published by authors willing to share or reuse it, according to the company.

"Yahoo Search is focused on providing innovative, useful technologies that enable people to find, use, share and expand human knowledge," David Mandelbrot, vice president of search content at Yahoo, said in a statement.

Lawrence Lessig, chairman of the board of directors and founder of Creative Commons, said the search tool was produced in order to help promote and advocate the use of "nontraditional copyright" arrangements between digital content developers and those interested in licensing individuals' work.

"So, as I feel like I've said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, 'Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use,' and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list," he wrote in his blog Thursday. "This is exciting news for us."

For its part, Yahoo continues to follow through on its promise to build communities. With its recent foray into the blogging, and this week's acquisition of online photo management company Flickr, and now the beta of this latest tool caps a flurry of activity from the California-based company.

"By giving users an easy way to find content based on the freedoms the author intends, Yahoo is encouraging the use and spread of technology that will enable creators to build upon the creativity of others, legally," Lessig, who is also a professor of law at Stanford Law School, said.

With this tool a user searching for a specific artist or subject will get relevant information on the appropriate license, as well as specific usage rights and conditions, according to the company. The information can then be used, mixed or repurposed by students, musicians, writers, educators and other content creators to ultimately create new content.

"We are excited to be working with Creative Commons to enable millions of Yahoo Search users to easily find and use Creative Commons content, and we look forward to helping enable a new generation of creative works based on this new medium."

In related news, Yahoo's board of directors approved a stock repurchase program. Under the program, the company is authorized to repurchase up to $3 billion of its outstanding shares of common stock from time to time over the next five years, depending on market conditions, share price and other factors.

The repurchases may be made on the open market, in block trades or otherwise and may include derivative transactions, the company said.