If you have created a work – like a text, a picture, a PowerPoint presentation, a video etc. and want to make it shareable without others having to ask you for permission then a Creative Commons license can be a solution. Creative Commons is a standardized method to clarify to what extent you accept that your work gets used, shared, and copied.
Customize a license for your work
A Creative Commons license lets you choose certain conditions when copyright protecting your work. If others are allowed to use your work freely, then you can choose the CC-BY license. If others are not allowed to make money on your work, then you give it a Non-Commercial tag – and so on. In this way, you can share your work with others and decide how your work can be used. All work with a Creative Commons license must be credited, so when you use a Creative Commons work then you need to give credit to the creator, regardless of which license it is.
When you, as a creator, have applied a CC license to your work then you cannot change the conditions or revoke the license. This means that you cannot, later on for example, apply another license to the same work. So carefully consider what license type you choose and what you want others to be able to do with your work.
Protection of other people’s works with a Creative Commons license
Before you use a work, you need to learn the different Creative Commons rights, so you do not violate other people’s copyright.
This license allows others to distribute, remix, and adapt your work, even commercially, as long as they give you credit for the original work. This license is the least restrictive in terms of how others can use your work under the Attribution type license.
Share Alike (by-sa)
This license allows others to adapt – such as changing, remixing, or building upon your work – even for commercial purposes, as long as they give you credit and apply an identical license to the new work. This license is often compared to Open Source Software licenses. Every new work that builds upon yours has the same license which means that every adaptation will also allow for commercial use.
Attribution - Non Derivative (by-nd)
This license allows for distribution of your work publicly – both commercial and non-commercial as long as the work is distributed without any adaptations and with credit given to you.
Attribution - Non Commercial (by-nc)
This license allows others to adapt – such as changing, remixing, or building upon your work, but for non-commercial purposes only. The new works must give credit to you and only have non-commercial purposes but does not need to be licensed under identical terms.
Attribution - Non Commercial - Share Alike (by-nc-sa)
This license allows others to adapt – such as changing, remixing, or building upon your work for non-commercial purposes and only as long as they give credit to you, the creator, and license the modified material under identical terms. Others can download and share your work publicly just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, change, and create new works based on your work. All new works based on your work must be licensed under a similar license, which is why every adaptation will remain non-commercial.
Attribution – Non-Commercial – Non-Derivative (by-nc-nd)
This license allows for distribution of your work publicly for non-commercial purposes only, as long as the work is distributed without any adaptations and with credit given to you.
You choose between a set of conditions that make up your license. Here are some descriptions of the four elements:
BY - Attribution. You allow others to copy, share, show, and use your work – as well as adaptations of the work – but the user must give credit to you, the creator.
NC - Non-Commercial. You allow others to copy, share, and show your work – as well as adaptations of the work – but the user is only allowed to use the work for non-commercial purposes.
ND – Non-Derivative. You allow others to copy, share, and show your work, but the user is not allowed to create and share any adaptations of the work.
SA – Share Alike. You allow others to create an adaptation of your work. The user is only allowed to share the adaptation under an identical license.
The Creative Commons licenses were used for the first time in 2001. It was discovered that there was an increased need for an easy way to share works online without always contacting the creator for permission. Creative Commons became a way to share creative works in a manner where both the user and creator had a clear framework for usage.
Remember that the responsibility for complying with the applicable rules on copyright rests with the user of a given material. The information in this guide is provided as inspiration and are neither constituted of or a substitute for personal legal advice.