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Frequently Asked Questions


Is `Use X' a fair use?

Although Critical Commons is committed to informing and empowering individuals to understand their rights and responsibilities under fair use, the one thing we can't do is give legal advice about particular situations. Please consult our Fair Use Resources page and Community Guidelines for information about recent developments in fair use and links to best practices guidelines.

How is this site different from YouTube?

In some ways, Critical Commons is similar to YouTube. For example, users are entirely responsible for the content they upload and we rely on our community of users to notify us of inappropriate content. The primary difference between Critical Commons and other video sharing sites is that we only display media that is placed in a critical context that transforms and recontextualizes the media, adding value and significance to the original work. We have also never taken down a piece of media due to a legal threat or challenge.

How come I have to be an educator to apply for Advanced User status?

Fair use is absolutely critical to users who deal with media in educational contexts and we decided to give priority to this group of users during the site's initial stages. If you feel you have a justifiable rationale for seeking Advanced User status, you are welcome to apply using our Contact form.

How come I have to enter my institutional e-mail address to apply for Advanced User status?

We need to be sure you are who you say you are. Right now, we require both an institutional URL and a dot-edu e-mail address to verify your status as an educator. If you can't access your institutional e-mail address or don't appear on your institutional website, you can still apply for Advanced status via our Contact form.

What happened to the mobile site?

Sadly, we are no longer able to support the mobile version of Critical Commons. However, our new site has been redeveloped specifically to be friendly to a wide range of tablet and mobile devices.

How can I do a wildcard search?

To find the word "postmodern" within "postmodernism" or  "postmodernist", simply add an asterisk to the end of the word, e.g. "postmodern*". Just enter this in the search bar at the top of the page.

How can I find all the media uploaded by a particular user?

This is a new feature for Critical Commons. Just use the drop-down menu next to our ordinary Search field and select "Contributor."

What platform was this built in?

Critical Commons was developed using the free, open source content management system Plone. More specifically, we are using the video-enabled variant of Plone called “Plumi,” which was created by our site developers EngageMedia, Infinite Recursion and UnWeb.

Is this site related to Creative Commons?

No. We believe strongly in the ideologies of creativity, culture and sharing that underlie Creative Commons' tiered licensing structure and our users are invited to apply Creative Commons licenses to the commentaries they add to our system, but we are not affiliated with them in any way. You can learn more about Creative Commons by visiting their website.