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Creative Commons Licenses

A Creative Commons license is a legal license or tool designed to describe how you, as an author, will allow others to use your copyrighted material. 

Although enforceable in court, Creative Commons (CC) licenses are not intended as a stand-alone alternative to traditional copyright law. They depend on the existence of copyright to work and allow you to easily modify the terms of your copyright ownership and communicate to others how your work may be used. Once applied, a CC license cannot be revoked while the work is still protected by copyright ownership or other rights closely related to copyright.

Creative Commons licenses incorporate various combinations of four conditions, which establish different levels of permission. The six types of Creative Commons licenses are explained in detail on CC’s website.

The following example shows a Creative Commons license with copyright information. This particular creative commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) is the most restrictive, saying others may copy and distribute your work only in unaltered form and under the following conditions: 

  • They must show attribution
  • They may use it only for non-commercial purposes
  • They may not create derivatives or adaptations of the work

© Copyright 20XX by Your Name

Example of a restrictive Creative Commons license


General Information on Creative Commons

Things to consider before licensing your work under a Creative Commons license