What are Creative Commons Licenses?
Creative Commons Licenses are a set of free, public licenses that allow creators to keep their copyrights while sharing their works on more flexible terms than the default "all rights reserved." Remember copyright is automatic, and while some creators want to reserve all of their rights, others want to share their work with the public more freely. The idea behind Creative Commons licensing was to create an easy way for creators who wanted to share their works in ways that were consistent with Copyright Law. All of the CC Licenses grant the public permission to use the works under certain standardized conditions. The licenses grant those permissions for as long as the underlying copyright lasts.
The basic condition in all of the licenses is that the user provides proper credit or attribution to the creator and certain other information, such as where the original work may be found. The Creative Commons Wiki provides an excellent explanation about how to properly provide Attribution.
There are six different CC License options:
CC BY = Attribution License
CC BY-SA = Attribution-ShareAlike License
CC BY-NC = Attribution-NonCommercial License
CC BY-NC-SA = Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
CC BY-ND = Attribution-NoDerivatives License
CC BY-NC-ND = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
*NoDerivatives means that you are still free to create adaptations of a CC licensed work SO LONG as you do NOT share the new work with others in its adaptive form.
Not sure which Creative Commons License to Use? Try the Creative Commons License Chooser!
Have Questions on Creative Commons Licenses?
Contact Colleen Marsh, who will be completing certification in Creative Commons Licensing by the end of 2019 at email@example.com or 218-477-2437.
The Public Domain
Public Domain = Works that are in the Public Domain are works that are no longer under copyright protection and can be freely used without obtaining permission. If a work is in the Public Domain, you cannot apply a CC license to it, but you are free to use it in any way that you want.
Creative Commons offers tools to help indicate if a work is in the Public Domain or if you would like to take a "no rights reserved" approach to your own work and dedicated a work in the public domain.
CC0 = Public Domain dedication tool
Public Domain Mark
See our page on Open Resources to help you find items that you can use that are in the Public Domain.