The CC licenses

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CC[1] licenses utilise four terms (with standard abbreviations and identifying symbols) to represent four aspects of copyright which a creator may choose to apply to a creative work. These four terms are combined in various ways to create a number of separate licenses.

All of the CC licenses require attribution (or credit) to the author or creator of the work.

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Attribution (BY). You let others copy, distribute, display and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative works based upon it – but only if they give you credit. All CC licenses contain this condition.

In addition, all of the CC licenses may have one or more of the following permissions or restrictions:

Cc-nc.svg

Non-Commercial (NC). You let others copy, distribute, display and perform your work – and derivative works based upon it – but for non-commercial purposes only. If they want to use your work for commercial purposes, they must contact you for permission.

Cc-sa.svg
Share Alike (SA). You allow others to distribute derivative works but only under the same conditions as you made your work available.
Cc-nd.svg

No Derivative Works (ND). You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not make derivative works based on it. If they want to translate, alter, transform, or combine your work with other works, they must contact you for permission.

What are the different licensing combinations?

Copyright holders may choose which permissions or restrictions they want to apply by combining these licensing terms to generate one of six CC licenses, described below.

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Attribution (CC BY) FCW Approved.png This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. The OER Foundation and many OER pracitioners recommend this license for OER (open educational resources).
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Attribution — Share-Alike (CC BY-SA) FCW Approved.png This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
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Attribution — No Derivatives (CC BY-ND) This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you. Your work can be included in compendiums, but may not be translated or modified without your permission.
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Attribution — Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC) This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
RTENOTITLE
Attribution — Non-Commercial — Share-Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
RTENOTITLE
Attribution — Non-Commercial — No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
FCW Approved.png
Note: The Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) and Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY-SA) are Free Cultural Works approved license options. The "Free Cultural Works approved" logo signifies that these licenses meet the requirements of the free cultural works definition derived from the essential freedoms. Significant open content projects like WikiEducator, Wikipedia (including the sister projects hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation) and Connexions use free cultural works licenses.

Test your knowledge: choose a license

The Creative Commons website provides a free online tool which you may use to license your work. The tool is designed to generate information about a particular license and the code to display the license on a website. We make use of this tool in the following practice activity.

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Activity

The purpose of this activity is to test your knowledge of the different CC licensing terms when choosing a specific license. In each case we provide the license and you must decide whether commercial use is allowed and the permissions associated with modifications of the work by answering the questions provided for the license chooser on the Creative Commons website.

For each question below:

  • Access the "Choose a license" tool at the Creative Commons website.
  • Answer the provided questions to achieve the indicated license.
  • Note that for the purposes of this activity you may select "International" for the "Jurisdiction of your license" (which specifies an unported license) and you are not required to provide "Additional Information" relating to the license format, title, etc.
  • Click the "Select a License" button to view the resulting license.
  • You may use the back arrow on your browser to re-access the starting page on which you may revise your choices for the subsequent question.

  1. Generate a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
    • Feedback: If you have selected the correct options you should see the CC BY license icon on the resultant page: Cc-by-icon.png
  2. Choose the correct options for a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) license.
    • Feedback: You should see the CC BY-NC-ND icon on the resultant page: CC-BY-NC-ND-icon-88x31.png
  3. Generate a CC-BY-SA 3 icon 88x31.png license.
    • Feedback: If the resultant license page displays the same icon, you have selected the correct options.
  4. Generate a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives license.
    • Feedback: You should see the CC BY-ND icon on the resultant page: CC-BY-ND-icon-88x31.png
  5. Choose the correct options for a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike license.
    • Feedback: You should see the CC BY-NC-SA icon on the resultant page: CC-BY-NC-SA-icon-88x31.png
  6. Generate a CC-BY-NC-icon-88x31.png license.
    • Feedback: If the resultant license page displays the same icon, you have selected the correct options.



CC public domain tools

While CC licenses help authors keep and manage their copyright on terms they choose, Creative Commons also provides other tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain. The public domain refers to creative works which are not protected by intellectual property rights at all and available for use by all members of the public. Works enter the public domain when the intellectual property rights have expired or the creator donates work to the public domain by forfeiting all intellectual property rights. Because copyright law is different from country to country, the recognition and meaning of the public domain will vary across national boundaries. Some countries may limit the use of public domain works or may not acknowledge public domain works at all. To learn more, refer to Copyright for Educators.

CC public domain tools enable authors and copyright owners who want to dedicate their works to the worldwide public domain to do so, and facilitate the labeling and discovery of works that are already free of known copyright restrictions. Note that the public domain is not a license, but a dedication by the authors to waive intellectual property rights on the work.

The CC0 tool allows creators to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain. The Creative Commons website provides a Public Domain Deed for this purpose. The CC0 tool should not be used for marking existing works in the public domain.

The Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work (that is already in the public domain) as being in the public domain.

(Insert activity using each tool here.)

Acknowledgements

Content on this page was sourced, revised and remixed from:

Notes

  1. Creative Commons