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Creative Commons Basics

Creative Commons Basics

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Category: Web Design Standards & Dev Tools

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.

Creative Commons licenses provide users a simple, standardized alternative to the ubiquitous "all rights reserved" copyright world. Whether you're an artist, photographer, DJ, or filmmaker, these licenses can help make your work part of the growing cultural of internet innovation. Besides protecting your work, Creative Commons also allow easy sharing and collaboration for educators when it comes to textbooks, lectures, and lesson plans. Their core tenant holds that scientific research, journals, and data should be readily available to anyone. The legal protections their licenses provide ensure you don't need to be able to speak "legalese" to take part in this open source culture.

Three “Layers” Of Licenses

Creative Commons - Licenses Layers

The Creative Commons copyright licenses incorporate an innovative "three-layer" design. Each license starts as a traditional legal definition, in the kind of language familiar to most lawyers. This is defined as the Legal Code layer of a license. Since most creators aren't actually lawyers, they've also offered the licenses in a format most normal people can understand. This Commons Deed (or "human readable" version), is a handy point of reference for licensors or licensees. This informal translation spells out the most crucial terms and conditions. The final layer of the license design acknowledges that software plays an important role in the creation and distribution of most works. In order to make it easy for web users, a Creative Commons license provides "machine readable" metadata in a format that software, search engines, and modern technologies can use. This standardized info described as a "CC Rights Expression Language (CC REL)" and has become commonplace across the internet.

Types of Licenses

  • Attribution 3.0 Unported
    CC BY 3.0

    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.

    License Deed | Legal Code
  • Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
    CC BY-SA 3.0

    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.

    License Deed | Legal Code
  • Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
    CC BY-ND 3.0

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

    License Deed | Legal Code
  • Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported
    CC BY-NC 3.0

    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.

    License Deed | Legal Code
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
    CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

    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.

    License Deed | Legal Code
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
    CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

    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.

    License Deed | Legal Code

Creative Commons is a Nonprofit Organization

Creative Commons works to increase the amount of creativity in the world. In whole, the "Commons" has grown to be defined as any body of work that is available to the public for free and legal sharing, use, repurposing, or remixing. Creative Commons is alive and thriving due to the generous and continued support of forward thinking people like you. If you'd like to keep the commons growing - Spread the word about CC to your friends & family or donate to help build the commons. We'd highly suggest you send a little support their way - These folks are doing some really important work!


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