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Creative Commons for Open Projects: Creative Commons Overview

Creative Commons Overview

Creative Commons supports and facilitates the open sharing of new knowledge and creativity by simplifying the access to and reuse of copyrighted works through Creative Commons licenses. CC licenses are used worldwide to facilitate the sharing and reuse of creative works and all kinds of intellectual property, including images, video, audio, text, scholarship, open pedagogy, and teaching materials.

Who is behind Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization devoted to the open exchange of information and creative work. Their open licenses help authors and creators articulate the rights they want to hold to their own work, and how they want to share it with others.

The Creative Commons philosophy is consistent with many tenants of open access. Creative Commons states:

"Our licenses enable collaboration, growth, and generosity in a variety of media." - Creative Commons, Share Your Work

What is an "open license"?

Creative Commons licenses are open licenses. An open license is a legal document that can be used by anyone, anywhere, much like the content exchange it facilitates. Open licenses are like any other legally-binding license, in that they are a legal document and specify legal requirements and parameters.

Open licenses give you full control over the legalities and licenses that you may want to apply to your work. Users of open licenses do not have to contact anyone or register their license in any way. With CC licenses specifically, all users have to do is signify the license in some way, usually through attaching a CC license icon and credit text to the work and specifying the license in the metadata. Learn more in the Add a CC License to Your Work section of this guide.

Who Uses Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons licenses are used internationally by all kinds of people in all types of circumstances. In open research, teaching, and scholarship, CC licenses are especially useful as we create new resources that incorporate the work of others, and as we share our own work online. Faculty, students, staff, and community partners can all advance knowledge through participating in the Creative Commons licensing system.

Only the copyright holder can apply a CC license (or any other kind of license)

Some popular platforms that build Creative Commons licensing into into their services include:

Guide Credit and License

"Creative Commons for Open Projects" by Denise Hattwig (2023) is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.