Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Internet Explorer 11 Will No Longer Be Supported as of November 20, 2020. Read More...

Scholarly Communication Services - Copyright: Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Creators of works can use Creative Commons licenses to set conditions of their use, sharing, and derivatives.  This is done to share work and make it more widely available to view and use.  CC licenses generally do not take away a creator's copyright; instead, the licenses provide and describe conditions to reuse a work so that permission is not required from the copyright holder.


Related LibGuides:

Content credit for this page: Images (LibGuide). By Lauri Rebar.

Creative Commons Essentials

Wikimedia Foundation (2017, February). What is Creative Commons? [Video]. YouTube.

Using Creative Commons (CC) Licenses & Works

Copyright and Creative Commons for Artists

Seemel, G. (2013). The new kind of copyright [Video]. Vimeo.

Books in the Library:

Creative Commons Licensing Conditions

Licensing Conditions (4)
Attribution (by)                     
ShareAlike (sa)                     
NonCommercial (nc)          
NoDerivatives (nd)               
Image credit: Licensing types, by Creative Commons.   Permission by CC-BY-4.0.

Creative Commons Licensing Types

Creative Commons licenses allow you to reuse an image or other creative work by following the guidelines for the specific licensed image. Creative Commons images may be licensed in 6 different ways by their creator. These licenses are listed in order of broadest to most restrictive:
Attribution CC BY         CC BY
Attribution ShareAlike CC BY-SA           CC BY-SA
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC        CC BY-NC
Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND            CC BY-ND
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA   
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND  
The following licenses are labels for works that are free of copyright:
Public Domain (CC0) 
Free Cultural Works    

Image credits:  Licenses and examples, by Creative Commons.  Permission by CC BY 4.0.

Creative Commons Licensing Spectrum

What types of CC licenses can be shared, remixed, and used for commercial uses?  Which licenses tend to be more open or have more restrictions?

Spectrum of Creative Commons Licenses

Image credit: Creative Commons License Spectrum by Shaddim. Permission by CC BY.