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Creative Commons Basics

Creative Commons Basics


This guide to using Creative Commons will cover all the Creative Commons basics - Selecting an attribution type, A detailed Creative Commons attribution example & factors in identifying Creative Commons vs copyright situations.

Their vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research, education, full participation in culture, and driving a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

Creative Commons licenses provide simple, standardized alternatives to the "all rights reserved" paradigm of traditional copyright.

Whether you're a photographer, writer, filmmaker, or DJ, our licenses help make your work part of the cultural innovation that's multiplying on the Internet.

Access to education is easy and universal when educators and learners use our licenses to share and collaboratively build textbooks, lectures, and lesson plans.

We believe that scientific research, journals, and data should be available to everyone, and have legal tools that help make this happen.

cc - licenses layers

Three “Layers” Of Licenses

Our public copyright licenses incorporate a unique and innovative "three-layer" design. Each license begins as a traditional legal tool, in the kind of language and text formats that most lawyers know and love. We call this the Legal Code layer of each license.

But since most creators, educators, and scientists are not in fact lawyers, we also make the licenses available in a format that normal people can read - the Commons Deed (also known as the "human readable" version of the license). The Commons Deed is a handy reference for licensors and licensees, summarizing and expressing some of the most important terms and conditions. Think of the Commons Deed as a user-friendly interface to the Legal Code beneath, although the Deed itself is not a license, and its contents are not part of the Legal Code itself.

The final layer of the license design recognizes that software, from search engines to office productivity to music editing, plays an enormous role in the creation, copying, discovery, and distribution of works. In order to make it easy for the Web to know when a work is available under a Creative Commons license, we provide a "machine readable" version of the license - a summary of the key freedoms and obligations written into a format that software system, search engines, and other kinds of technology can understand. We developed a standardized way to describe licenses that software can understand called CC Rights Expression Language (CC REL) to accomplish this.

Searching for open content is an important function enabled by our approach.. You can use Google and Yahoo! to search for Creative Commons content, look for pictures at Flickr, albums at Jamendo, and general media at spinxpress. The Wikimedia Commons, which powers Wikipedia, is a core user of our licenses as well.

Taken together, these three layers of license ensure that the spectrum of rights isn't just a legal concept. It's something that the creators of works can understand, their users can understand, and even the Web itself can understand.

CC provides free, easy-to-use legal tools

Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The Creative Commons licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved."

Types of Licenses...

cc-by
Attribution
CC BY
cc-bysa
Attribution-ShareAlike
CC BY-SA

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.

| View Legal Code

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. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

cc-bynd
Attribution-NoDerivatives
CC BY-ND
cc-bync
Attribution-NonCommercial
CC BY-NC

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

cc-byncsa
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
CC BY-NC-SA
cc-byncnd
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
CC BY-NC-ND

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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

This license is the most restrictive of our 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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization


We work to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons" — the body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, and remixing.

Your Support


Creative Commons today is alive and thriving thanks to the generous and continued support of people like you. Spread the word about CC to your friends and family or donate and help build the commons.

Send a little support their way - They're doing some important work!



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Haeck Design

Haeck Design was founded in 1999 in Raleigh, NC. They're a small, responsive design firm dedicated to creating high quality websites, logos, graphics, branding, print, and marketing materials all with a unique/minimal approach. (Haeck Design Bio Page)

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