Yahoo has created a search site for finding digital content that can be reused and shared for free.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company Thursday will announce Yahoo Search for Creative Commons, a service for searching millions of Web pages which include content that is available under the Creative Commons license.
Yahoo Inc. developed the service, available in beta as a separate Yahoo Search site, in cooperation with the San Francisco-based Creative Commons. The nonprofit promotes a license for digital content creators that lets individuals share and reuse copyrighted works ranging from digital text and images to music and video.
"Yahoo wants to make it easy to distribute content online and to find content online, and given our shared mission it seemed natural for us to work together," said David Mandelbrot, Yahoo's vice president of search content.
In its search service, Yahoo lets users refine their searches to only Web pages which include Creative Commons-licensed content. Users also can choose to further refine a search to return pages with specific types of reuse conditions.
Under Creative Commons, for example, content owners can designate whether their content can be reused and adapted and whether it can be used for commercial purposes.
Yahoo's promotion of digital content with more open copyrights comes as it increasingly woos Web developers and publishers.
Yahoo Search opened developer access to its Web search and other search services earlier this month. A Yahoo spokesperson confirmed that Yahoo Search for Creative Commons also will be available as part of Yahoo's Web search API.
Since last week, Yahoo has announced plans to enter the blog-publishing and social-networking space with a service called Yahoo 360 and has acquired Flickr, a startup photo-sharing service. Flickr already allows users to attach a Creative Commons license to photos, Mandelbrot said.
"Yahoo's getting very focused on the self-publishing community, and this relationship [with Creative Commons] is part of our overall strategy to further enable that community," Mandelbrot said, referring to Yahoo's blogging and Flickr announcements.
Officials with Creative Commons could not be reached for comment, but in a statement, board Chairman Larry Lessig welcomed Yahoo's effort to enable the searching of open content.
"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 enables creators to build upon the creativity of others, legally," said Lessig.