Creative Commons

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

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What You Need to Know About Licenses

Using the Creative Commons license selector, licensors can choose how much of a work they wish to share and specify how creative they will permit others to be with their material.  This is not an alternative to copyright.  Licensors still own copyright.

However, with a license, the licensor gives " the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”

There are six basic types of licenses, each detailed on the Creative Commons site.  Additional information is available with each license type where licensors can review the license deed and the legal code.

1.    Attribution CC BY

  • Most open license

  • Public only needs to credit you for the original creation

  • Public can make any changes

  • Can be used commercially

2.    Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

  • Same as #1, BUT

  • All new worked based on your work, if licensed under a Creative Commons license, MUST USE THE SAME type of license as original work  was licensed under

3.    Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND  [Used if material should not be changed]

  • Same as #1, BUT

  • Public CANNOT make any changes

4.    Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC

  • Same as #1, BUT

  • CANNOT be used commercially, AND

  • All new worked based on your work, if licensed under a Creative Commons license, DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SAME type of license as original work  was licensed under.

5.    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

  • Same as #4, BUT

  • All new worked based on your work, when licensed under a Creative Commons license, MUST BE THE SAME type of license as original work was licensed under.

6.    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

  • Most restrictive license

  • Public needs to credit you for the original creation

  • Public CANNOT make any changes

  • CANNOT be used commercially 

 CC LicensesView the excellent presentation by Mary Burgess on Open Educational Resources and Open Textboooks (includes information about Creative Commons licenses).



Before Licensing

Before you obtain a license, there are some basic steps to take, which are detailed on the Creative Commons site.

1. Make sure your work is copyrightable.

2. Make sure you have the rights.

  • Do you own the material?

  • Is there any 3rd party material included.  If so you have to get their permission or remove it before licensing the material.

3. Make sure you understand how Creative Commons Licenses operate.

4. Be specific about what you are licensing.


Marking Content with CC Licenses

Visit the Creative Commons page for creators, that provides best practices and instructions on how to "identify" your work as being under a CC License.

Then choose the appropriate license using CC using the Creative Commons License Picker.  As you select the applicable features and enter the information the html code on the page will be modified to your specification.  Choose which icon you wish to add to your site and simply copy the code onto your page. 


Creative Commons FAQs

This section of the Creative Commons website provides answers to their most frequently asked questions to help licensors better understand types of licenses and available tools.

JIBC Creative Commons Licenses

To date, the following JIBC courses have been created under a CC license:

To date, the following textbooks have been created under a CC license:

JIBC is a collaborator on the following:


Using CC Material

Creative Commons and YouTube

Creative Commons Search Engine


To locate open access material to use in your courses, visit the Library's Open Access webpage.

Last updated September 23, 2017