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Creative Commons Licenses: Home

This guide provides information on how to add a Creative Commons License to share your work and how to reuse and remix content that have Creative Commons Licenses.

Creative Commons Licenses

What are Creative Commons Licenses?

Creative Commons Licenses are a set of free, public licenses that allow creators to keep their copyrights while sharing their works on more flexible terms than the default "all rights reserved."  Remember copyright is automatic, and while some creators want to reserve all of their rights, others want to share their work with the public more freely.  The idea behind Creative Commons licensing was to create an easy way for creators who wanted to share their works in ways that were consistent with Copyright Law.  All of the CC Licenses grant the public permission to use the works under certain standardized conditions.  The licenses grant those permissions for as long as the underlying copyright lasts. 

The basic condition in all of the licenses is that the user provides proper credit or attribution to the creator and certain other information, such as where the original work may be found.  The Creative Commons Wiki provides an excellent explanation about how to properly provide Attribution
 

There are six different CC License options:
 

CC BY = Attribution License  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

  • Least restrictive of all the CC Licenses
  • You are free to use the work for any purpose (adapt, derive, commercial) as long as attribution is given
     

CC BY-SA = Attribution-ShareAlike License   Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License

  • You are free to use the work for any purpose (adapt, derive, commercial) as long as attribution is given AND
  • You Share any adaptations you make with others under the same or compatible license  


CC BY-NC = Attribution-NonCommercial License   Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License

  • You are free to use the work for noncommercial purposes only AND
  • You need to give attribution
     

CC BY-NC-SA = Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License   Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike License

  • You are free to use the work for noncommercial purposes only AND
  • You need to give attribution AND
  • You need to share any adaptations with others under the same or compatible license  

 

CC BY-ND = Attribution-NoDerivatives License   Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives License

  • You are free to use the unadapted* version of the work for any purpose AND
  • You need to give attribution 

 

CC BY-NC-ND = Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License   Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives License

  • Most restrictive CC license
  • You are free to use the unadapted* version of the work for noncommercial purposes AND
  • You need to give attribution

*NoDerivatives means that you are still free to create adaptations of a CC licensed work SO LONG as you do NOT share the new work with others in its adaptive form. 

Not sure which Creative Commons License to Use?  Try the Creative Commons License Chooser

Have Questions on Creative Commons Licenses?

Contact Heidi Southworth, Digital Initiatives Librarian, at heidi.southworth@mnsu.edu or 507-389-5066. 

The Public Domain

 
Public Domain = Works that are in the Public Domain are works that are no longer under copyright protection and can be freely used without obtaining permission.  If a work is in the Public Domain, you cannot apply a CC license to it, but you are free to use it in any way that you want. 
 
Creative Commons offers tools to help indicate if a work is in the Public Domain or if you would like to take a "no rights reserved" approach to your own work and dedicated a work in the public domain. 
 
CC0 = Public Domain dedication tool 
  • Use this universal tool if you are a holder of copyright or database rights and you wish to waive all your interests, if any, in your work worldwide.
  • This may be the case if you are reproducing an underlying work that is in the public domain and want to communicate that you claim no copyright in your digital copy where copyright law may grant protection. 
     

Public Domain Mark  Creative Commons Public Domain Mark

  • Use this tool if you have identified a work that is free of known copyright restrictions.
  • Creative Commons does not recommend this tool for works that are restricted by copyright laws in one or more jurisdictions.

 

See our page on Open Resources to help you find items that you can use that are in the Public Domain. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
.