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Open Access & Scholarly Communication: Creative Commons Licenses

Licensing Your Work

With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify here. For those new to Creative Commons licensing, prepared a list of things to think about. If you want to offer your work with no conditions, choose the public domain.

  • License your work
  • Things to Think about before licensing
    1. Make sure your work falls within the CC license
    2. Make sure you have the rights
    3. Make sure you understand how licenses operate
    4. Be specific about what you are licensing
    5. Are you part of a collecting society? Does it permit CC?

Creative Commns License Chooser

Attribution CC BY
This is the most liberal. Allows all types of uses as long they credit you for the original creation. - allows distribution, remixing, tweaking, and building up on your work. Allows commercial use.
  Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
Often compared to open source software licenses. The share alike means that uses are all available as with the one above but any derivatives would need to be licensed under the same terms.
Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND
Still allows commercial use but no derivatives.
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
This takes the basic attribution license and just adds the non-commercial restriction
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA
All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND
This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


CC also provides tools that work in the “all rights granted” space of the public domain.

The CC0 tool allows licensors to waive all rights and place a work in the public domain, and our Public Domain Mark allows any web user to “mark” a work as being in the public domain.