What are Creative Commons licenses? How do they differ?

Answered By: Rhav Lutchman
Last Updated: 27 Feb 2024 Views: 167

Creative Commons Licences

Creative commons licences enable less restrictive use of creative works than traditional, all rights reserved copyright. Authors reserve some rights, but depending on the licence, allow users to share, use and build upon the work they've created.

Different elements that make us a licence

  • Creative Commons  Attribution (BY): The creator of the work must be credited.
  • Creative Commons Share-alike (SA): Derivatives of the work can only be made under a licence that is identical to the original work.
  • Creative Commons  Non-commercial (NC) The work cannot be re-used for commercial purposes without permission.
  • Creative Commons  No Derivates (ND) The work may be re-used but not modified without permission.

What is allowed under different licences?

BY is more open with the licence types becoming progressively more restrictive down the table.

Creative Commons Licence type

Attribution required

Copy and publish

Commercial use

Modify and adapt

Change Licence

(BY)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

(BY) and (SA)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

(BY) and (NC)

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

(BY)and (ND)

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

(BY), (NC) and (SA)

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

(BY), (NC) and (ND)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

For authors

Publishing with a Creative Commons licence allows your work to be re-used under the conditions you set. All the licences require the author to be attributed. The licences are free, apply world wide and last for the duration of the work’s copyright. Al licences are underpinned by legal code. Find details of how to apply a licence.

For users

When you see a piece of work published with a Creative Commons licence it lets you know in a quick and easy to understand way, how you are allowed to reuse the material . You may see licences applies to a variety of media, including websites, scholarly articles, images and videos. Find details of how to attribute material.

The infographic below is licenced under Creative Commons Attribution (BY)

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