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Copyright Essentials

What is Creative Commons Licensing?

Creative Commons (CC) licensing is a cornerstone of the Open Educational Resource movement. A CC license allows content creators to specify how their work can be used. Whereas copyright confers a bundle of rights on the copyright holder, applying a CC license allows the copyright holder to share their work in a variety of ways. 

A Creative Commons license is typically displayed at the bottom or the end of a work. Sometimes they have clickable icons, indicating the specific license covering the work.

Creative Commons licenses


Creative Commons license icons
Image credit Pixabay
Available at:
Creative Commons license: CC BY


What Can I Do with a Creative Commons License?

You can apply for a Creative Commons license to allow your work to be reusable in certain ways and for specific purposes. Here's a handy chart showing each license and types of allowable uses:



Creative Commons license infographic
Image credit: Flickr
Available at:
Creative Commons license: CC BY-SA 2.0


How Do I Get a Creative Commons License?

Visit the Creative Commons website and select Share Your Work. From there, you can choose the type of license you wish to apply by answering a few questions about how you wish your work to be used. Then you will be provided with the license.

You can also share your work on a variety of platforms such as YouTube, FlickrVimeoPLOS, or MIT Courseware. These will help to distribute your work to a wider audience.