Creative Commons: an "open content" licence -- EIFL Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libaries
Creative Commons FAQs
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons (CC)
is a non-profit organisation dedicated to expanding the range of creative works available. Founded in the US in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig
, Creative Commons offers an easy way for authors, artists, musicians and educators to choose how to make their works available and under what conditions using easy to understand licences and a recognised logo.
What sort of stuff does it cover?
Creative Commons covers audio e.g. music, sounds, speeches; images e.g. photos, illustrations, designs; video e.g. movies, animations, footage; text e.g. books, blogs, essays; education e.g. lesson plans, coursepacks, textbooks.
How does it work
Creative Commons offers a set of flexible copyright licences from asserting full copyright "all rights reserved
" to the public domain "no rights reserved
". CC licences enable creators to keep their copyright while inviting certain uses of their work. This is known as "some rights reserved" copyright.
CC licencesThere are six main types of licence, plus a few licences for specialised applications e.g. sampling licences.
The Developing Nations licence was retired
in June 2007. Each licence has three versions:
- a "Commons Deed" that explains in simple terms what is permitted under the licence using easy to recognise symbols
- a lawyer-readable "Legal Code" which is the full text of the licence
- a machine-readable version containing RDF/XML metadata that describes the licence, making it easier to locate CC-licensed works on the web.
International Commons - localising CC licenses
The default CC licences are based on U.S. law. International Commons
(iCommons) is dedicated to the drafting and adoption of CC licences in specific jurisdictions. National CC licences have been adopted in thirty-two countries from Argentina to the UK, with another 22 under development.
Interested in adapting a CC licence to your local law?
Adapting or "porting" a CC licence to another legal jurisdiction involves both the literal and legal translation of the licences. There are a number of steps involved from identifying the project lead and institution through to the launch of the licence. Commons are there to provide assistance. Read more in this illustrated step-by-step guide
(pdf) or click here
for an overview.