I release copyright on most of my articles and podcasts on this site.
What does this mean?
You are free to use my articles and podcasts mostly as you wish. I am granting others non-exclusive right to use my articles and/or podcasts. No stipulations, no licensing, no permissions needed.
Why on earth would you do this?
I contemplated this for a good long while before doing it, believe me. I was an academic first and ownership of one’s intellectual property is deeply baked into academics. Ultimately, there were three primary drivers of my decision:
Driver 1: Freeing ideas to let them reach their potential
My academic roots make ideas and learning really important to me. Uncopyrighting removes barriers that inhibit the evolution of ideas and allows for the spread of even better ideas. By releasing my articles and audio into the wild, I hope they’ll inspire others to work with them and amplify their impact.
That prospect makes me pretty happy.
Driver 2: Need for an antidote
I have been feeling quite disillusioned by the hate and division I’ve watched sown in my country, particularly over the past four years (I’m writing this in 2020). After a lifetime dedicated to helping people find more peace and less suffering in their personal and professional relationships, I’ve found myself somewhat paralyzed by the very wide divides we are facing on matters of social and racial justice, climate change, pandemic survival, and political ideology.
If ever there was a time to orient oneself to the global commons, this is it.
Driver 3: Piracy fatigue
Over the years it’s become clear that a lot of people want to re-use my material. Many have done the right thing and asked first. But too many to count (and I mean many hundreds), including colleagues in my own field, have just taken my work and put it on their own sites, sometimes even publishing it under their own names, despite my copyright notice.
Life’s short. I’m really tired of dealing with people in the second group and I want to feel less encumbered by piracy. I could just ignore them, but mentally they’d still weigh me down. I mean, it’s 9th grade material not to plagiarize and I know I’d be gnashing my teeth a lot if I tried to ignore it.
It’s freeing to me to view all republishers as allies instead of enemies and to shift my mindset from scarcity to abundance.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. I retain copyright on my books, my online courses (free and paid), and any PDF downloads that carry the copyright symbol. I also retain copyright on a few longer form articles and the copyright notice is posted at the foot of those few works.
What can I do with them?
Pretty much whatever you want. You can do things like…
- Republish an article in its entirety on your own site.
- Reprint an article in your newsletter.
- Translate them into other languages.
- Post them on social media.
- Create an ebook out of them.
- Build on them to create great new ideas.
I encourage you to use my uncopyrighted material in creative and expansive ways and to share alike.
Do I need to attribute the work to you?
Well, it is the decent thing to do, right? I appreciate attribution as the original author and if you’re re-using my work online, I hope you’ll also link to the original or to my site in general. But if you don’t, so be it.
Don’t try to copyright my work, though. Use this guideline: Don’t create a headache for me. I’m doing this in part to avoid headaches (see below).
If your moral compass is pointing toward doubt about what’s ok and what’s not, feel free to contact me.
Do I have to ask permission or tell you?
Nope. But I do hope you’ll let me know if you’re re-using something, because I may be able to help spread the word about what you’ve published.