Search for eResources by keyword

Creative Commons License

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Mountain View, California, United States, devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators.

The Creative Commons System

An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, profiting both copyright owners and licensees. Wikipedia uses one of these licenses.

What our licenses do

The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. 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 combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

License Design and Rationale

All Creative Commons licenses have many important features in common. Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for the work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts (because they are built on copyright). These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used.

Licensors and Licensees

A Creative Commons licensor answers a few simple questions on the path to choosing a license — first, do I want to allow commercial use or not, and then second, do I want to allow derivative works or not? If a licensor decides to allow derivative works, she may also choose to require that anyone who uses the work — we call them licensees — to make that new work available under the same license terms. We call this idea “ShareAlike” and it is one of the mechanisms that (if chosen) helps the digital commons grow over time. ShareAlike is inspired by the GNU General Public License, used by many free and open-source software projects.

Fair Dealing and Copyright

Our licenses do not affect freedoms that the law grants to users of creative works otherwise protected by copyright, such as exceptions and limitations to copyright law like fair dealing. Creative Commons licenses require licensees to get permission to do any of the things with a work that the law reserves exclusively to a licensor and that the license does not expressly allow. Licensees must credit the licensor, keep copyright notices intact on all copies of the work, and link to the license from copies of the work. Licensees cannot use technological measures to restrict access to the work by others.

The Licenses

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, 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.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
legal code

You are free to:

  • Share - copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt - remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. 

 

Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open-source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
legal code

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • for any purpose, even commercially.
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

 

Under the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

 

Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0)

This license lets others reuse the work for any purpose, including commercially; however, it cannot be shared with others in adapted form, and credit must be provided to you.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/
legal code

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • for any purpose, even commercially.
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

 

Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

This license lets others remix, adapt, 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.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

This license lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/legalcode

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. 

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

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.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode

You are free to:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.

Under the following terms:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

 

License Compatibility

Unicode Symbols

After being proposed by Creative Commons in 2017, Creative Commons license symbols were added to Unicode with version 13.0 in 2020. These symbols can be in succession to indicate a particular Creative Commons license, for example, CC-BY-SA (CC-Attribution-ShareAlike) can be expressed with Unicode symbols.

Name

Unicode

Decimal

UTF-8

Image

Circled Equals

meaning no derivatives

U+229C ⊜ E2 8A 9C

Circled Zero With Slash

meaning no rights reserved

U+1F10D 🄍 F0 9F 84 8D

Circled Anticlockwise Arrow

meaning share alike

U+1F10E 🄎 F0 9F 84 8E

Circled Dollar Sign With Overlaid Backslash

meaning non-commercial

U+1F10F &#127247 F0 9F 84 8F

Circled CC

meaning Creative Commons license

U+1F16D &#127341 F0 9F 85 AD

Circled C With Overlaid Backslash

meaning public domain

U+1F16E &#127342 F0 9F 85 AE

Circled Human Figure

meaning attribution, credit

U+1F16F &#127343 F0 9F 85 AF