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Creative Commons

Getting to Know CC Licenses

Creative Commons’ legal tools were designed to be both legally robust and easy to use. Creative Commons licenses help authors who want to give people permissions that are prohibited by copyright all rights reserved protections. An author may grant any one of the following with CC licenses: rights to freely copy, freely redistribute, freely transform, or freely reuse your work.   

This section introduces the layers of the licenses, the elements of the licenses, and the licenses themselves. All of the creative commons licenses:

  • Help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy and distribute their work.
  • Ensure licensors get credit for their work.
  • Last as long as applicable copyright lasts.
  • Apply around the world.

 


3 Layers of Creative Commons Licenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons licenses are built using a three layer design.

Learn more about the layers by selecting the plus signs.

About Creative Commons Licenses

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons Licenses are constructed by combining four license elements—BY, SA, NC, and ND. They may be combined to make up six different license options. Turn the cards to learn more about the elements that the icons symbolize.


CC BYAttribution license

“CC-BY”

This license permits the use of a work for any purpose (even commercially and even in modified form) with one condition:

Give attribution to the creator.

 

CC BY SA

 

Attribution-ShareAlike license

“BY-SA”

This license permits the use of a work for any purpose (even commercially and even in modified form), with two conditions:

Give attribution to the creator.

Provide any adaptations available under the same or a compatible license

 

CC BY NC

 

Attribution-NonCommercial license

“BY-NC”

This license permits use of a work with two conditions:

Give attribution to the creator.

Use only for noncommercial purposes.

 

 

BY NC SA

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license

“BY-NC-SA”

This license permits use of a work with three conditions:

Give attribution to the creation.

Provide any adaptations available under the same or a compatible license.

Use only for noncommercial purposes.

 

CC BY ND

 

Attribution-NoDerivatives license

“BY-ND”

This license permits use of a work with two conditions:

No adaptations or derivatives.

Give attribution to the creator. 

 

 

BY NC ND

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license

“BY-NC-ND”

This license, the most restrictive, permits the use of a work with three conditions:

Give attribution to the creator. 

Use only for noncommercial purposes.

No adaptations or derivatives. 


CC0 In addition to the licenses, creative commons has a copyright tool that may be used to surrender rights to a work by dedicating it to the public domain. In doing so, an individual disclaims copyright and takes a “no rights reserved” approach to the extent allowed by law.

 

Public Domain The Public Domain Mark is a label used to mark works known to be free of all copyright restrictions. (Note: this is not a legal tool but simply a label.) Keep in mind you cannot apply a CC license to work that has been made available in the worldwide public domain.

Creative commons layer image, licenses, and icons from Creative Commons, CC Attribution 4.0 International license.