Opinion Column by PC Magazine: Creative Commons Humbug
Although I have to agree that "Creative Commons: Public Domain" makes no sense, Dvork misses the point of Creative Commons. This provides a way for people to allow for personal use of COMPLETE WORKS. Fair use allows for, say, up to 60 seconds of a song to be used in say a review. Creative Commons allows for an artist to let people freely copy their songs for personal use yet retaining certain rights. Even further I could claim that the song is mine - in the case of a document it would not take much to swap the names out.
How is that different from public domain? If something is placed in the public domain it can be used for ANY purpose without regard for the original creator. So, for example, I could pick up a public domain song and include it on a disc and sell that disc and the musicians or song writer are not due any royalties. With Creative Commons you would need to get permission before including said song in a compilation.
Copyright, on the other hand, does not allow under fair use the copying of complete works for any reason. Granted the RIAA is not going to come down on me for going to the library and renting a CD and ripping 1 song, but legally they could.
To me Creative Commons is something like Open Source, with its various licenses. It provides a way for artists to legally spread there work while maintaining certain rights. Current copyright law tends to be more of an on/off situation, and failure to enforce your copyright on all things could hamper future efforts on things you WANT under copyright.