Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a way for creators to share and increase the accessibility of their works. Copyright laws create a default “all rights reserved” position for all creative works. This means that even if a creator wants to see a particular work widely used and accessed without collecting royalties, potential users might not initiate the sometimes time-consuming work of seeking permission and just not make use of the work.

Creative Commons (CC) aims to change this by offering a “some rights reserved” model. Where authors wish to share their works and make them more accessible, CC licenses serve as tools to minimize barriers, while allowing creators to still indicate which uses are open and which are not. For example an author might allow non-commercial use in advance, but not commercial use. Or a creator might allow copying but disallow derivative works (modification). By providing clarity about certain uses in advance, users can be more confident about their use of these materials and use becomes more likely. This helps authors share their materials with the world.

This is different than works in the public domain. Copyright remains with the creator, but a CC licence gives advance permission for specific kinds of uses as determined by the copyright holder who can still allow or deny permissions for other uses on a case by case basis.

For information about Creative Commons licenses, see the Creative Commons website.