A Creative Commons licence is a standardized way for the creator of an original work – be it a research publication, a photo, a PowerPoint presentation or a sound recording - to allow others to share and use their work in certain ways, without them having to ask permission to do so. The creator of a work will retain the copyright to their work even if they assign it a Creative Commons licence. One can say that with Creative Commons licences, one goes from “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved”, allowing others to do certain things with a work.
Please note that once you have assigned a Creative Commons licence to your work, there is no way back. A Creative Commons licence cannot be revoked.
The choice of Creative Commons licence will depend on which rights the creator wishes to reserve for themselves. One can choose between six different Creative Commons licences.
Attribution licence or CC BY: This licence is the Creative Commons licence that gives others the most freedom in terms of what they can do with your work. With this licence, you allow others use it in any way, even commercially, under the condition that as you as the creator are acknowledged.
Attribution-ShareAlike licence or CC BY-SA: With this licence, you allow others to use your work in any way, including commercially, as long as you are acknowledged as the creator, and they assign whatever they create with your work the same licence.
Attribution-NonCommercial licence or CC BY-NC: With this licence, others may use your work, but only for non-commercial purposes, and you must be acknowledged as the creator. Please note that adaptations of your work do not need to be assigned the same licence as you have assigned to your work.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence or CC BY-NC-SA: This licence allows others to use your work for exclusively non-commercial purposes. In doing so, they must assign any derivative works the same licence as you have assigned to your work.
Attribution-NoDerivatives licence or CC BY-ND: With this licence, others may share your work (copy and redistribute it), even for commercial purposes, but they must credit you. However, they are not allowed to make any changes to your work and share these new creations with others.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence or CC BY-NC-ND: This licence is the most restrictive of the six Creative Commons licences. With this licence, others are allowed to share your work (copy or redistribute it) for non-commercial purposes if they credit you. They are not allowed to adapt (remix, transform or build upon) your work in any way.
The following public domain tools help you identify works that are part of the public domain, i.e. not protected by copyright, and can therefore be freely used in any way.
CC0 Public Domain Dedication: This dedication means that the creator has waived all rights to the work to the greatest extent possible, that it therefore is part of the public domain and that all are free to use it in any way.
Public Domain Mark: This label clearly states that the work is known to no longer be subject to copyright restrictions and is therefore part of the public domain. This will typically be used for older works.
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