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Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons & Copyright

Anatomy of a Creative Commons License

What's a Creative Commons License?

Many OERs use Creative Commons Licenses to communicate just how "open" the resource is.

Copyright law grants, by default, "all rights reserved" to authors (or other copyright holders) to protect their claim to a work and profits generated from it.

Creative Commons is a popular way for copyright holders to modify these rights to allow others to reuse, modify, distribute, or even profit from their works without asking permission.  The works are still copyrighted and must be cited when used as an information source in a research paper, but the author has opted to allow others to use the work within selected restrictions.  

The particular combination of restrictions is selected by the copyright holder and is usually represented in code and/or image.  For example, 

 

This license specifies that you may modify, distribute, and reuse the work as long as you give attribution (credit) to the original author and you use the work non-commercially.

Creative Commons: A Brief History

Creative Commons Licenses

The following is taken from the Creative Commons website: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Also try their License Chooser tool!

 

The Licenses

Attribution 
CC BY

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.

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Attribution-ShareAlike 
CC BY-SA

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. 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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NoDerivs 
CC BY-ND

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

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial 
CC BY-NC

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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 
CC BY-NC-SA

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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 
CC BY-NC-ND

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.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

We also provide tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain. Our CC0 tool allows licensors to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain, and our Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work as being in the public domain.

Copyright In a Nutshell

Creative Commons: Remixes and Collections