Creative Commons (CC) offers standard licenses for content owners that permit others to reuse their works without asking permission. It can be helpful for students to understand these licenses when searching for content that may be easily integrated into their projects. In addition, students who want to share their own creative works online should be aware of this copyright-friendly option.
What Is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides tools to allow content owners a way to allow their works to be copied, distributed, edited, remixed or otherwise built upon without having to grant permission on a case-by-case basis. They call this a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright, where the copyright owner is not seeking any financial compensation.
Who uses Creative Commons
Millions of individuals use Creative Commons licenses, but large organizations world-wide use them as well, including WhiteHouse.gov, Wikipedia, MIT OpenCourseWare and the World Bank.
Finding Creative Commons works to reuse
Go to Creative Commons Search to run searches for content available with CC licenses through a variety of sites, including Google, and Flickr. Google’s advanced search form has a filter for “usage rights.” There are a variety of special-interest sites providing CC-licensed music, images, videos and more.
Using a Creative Commons license for one’s own work
There is no registration, and no fee to use a Creative Commons license. Content owners keep their copyright, but are able to specify conditions under which others may copy and distribute a work. Licensors simply select a license and mark their work appropriately.
There are six licenses; each one requires attribution, but also specify whether commercial use is permitted, if subsequent users may modify the content, and if you ask that users “share alike,” adhering to the same licensing terms.