Creative Commons

Creative Commons licences promote the sharing of resources and knowledge in the digital world. They are 'open' and 'free' for both creators and users.

CC green logo'Open Licences', such as 'Creative Commons',  have developed as part of the digital age.  Creative Commons uses the tagline "Share, Remix, Reuse - Legally" - which is pretty much what we need in schools. The licences can be chosen by a free on-line tool.  Once you have assigned the licence to your work it lets other people know how you want your work treated.

Creative Commons builds on copyright and shouldn't be misrepresented as standing for 'copyright cancelled' or meaning 'anything goes'.


'A Shared Culture' by Jesse Dylan is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) license. Read The Shared Culture CC page for the full attribution and to find out how the video was made using CC licensed materials created by over a hundred different people. Music is by 'Nine Inch Nails' from 'Ghosts' - also on a CC BY-NC-SA licence.

 CC = Creative Commons; BY = acknowledge the creator; NC = OK for you to use except for commercial purposes; SA = '"sharealike", i.e. keep the CC licence with the work when you use it. 


 The main principle of Creative Commons is 'Some Rights Reserved'.

 Creative Commons uses a set of 'buttons' made up from easy-to-read 'icons' to show how the creator wants users to use their materials.

 Creative Commons licences are available free online.

 Creative Commons is a global movement with over 50 countries participating.

Creative Commons licences have 'layers' you can click through from the easily recognisable 'buttons'  all the way to the full legal-speak document describing the licence.

This is the 'button' denoting a licence obliging users and re-users to acknowledge the creator (BY); not make commercial use without permission (NC) and if they adapt the work to keep the CC licence and 'sharealike' (SA).  Click the 'button' to read the full licence conditions on the Creative Commons website.

You can search for Creative Commons licensed material in some search engines - e.g. the advanced search in 'Google' and 'Yahoo' or the tool on the 'CC search page'.

Several of the biggest banks of on-line resources available on the Web use CC Licences - 'Internet Archive', 'Flickr', 'Wikipedia', 'You Tube' (Google), ...

SmileYou can find a lot of original music with CC licences.

Many education and academic projects and resources in the UK also use Creative Commons licences.

Creative Commons licences don't over-ride other conditions such as 'third party rights'.

 Creative Commons licences are 'irrevocable' and 'perpetual': a creator can stop offering a piece of work under a CC licence they have previoulsy given it whenever they wish and assign new copyright conditions for subsequent use; BUT, anyone who has copied the work prior to the change has it under the original CC licence.

 Pupils can use the Creative Commons licences - BUT for schools 'prior parental permission' is key.

What next?

 Continue reading about Creative Commons or "Try it out!"  ... and then do the reading ...


Choose an image you want other people to be able to use - we're using the © = ? graphic. Then head off to the Creative Commons Website 'Choose a Licence' page. Then there's just a few steps to complete online.

 Do you want people to be able to use your image commercially or only for non-commercial uses?
 Do you want people to be able to modify or adapt your work?

 Select whether you want to use a national licence
- for UK schools either UK England & Wales or UK Scotland. N. Ireland school users should select UK Scotland - or an unported licence - i.e. 'global'.
 You can also add more information
to give your name or school or project, contact url and a url if users want more 'permissions' to use the works, say for commercial or endorsement purposes if you've used a 'No-commercial' licence. This added information is optional - and you don't have to add it. You could use a school or project name so individual pupil and teacher names remain 'anonymous' if that is required.  

 And Hey Presto! you'll see your licence button, web link and if you you need it, code to embed in a website. The idea is that you 'copy' the button and web link into or next to your work so people can see your licence and know how you want your work used. When a user clicks on the licence button they'll be able to read the full licence from the CC website. Like this!

Creative Commons Licence'Copyright equals what?' by NEN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Click the button to read the full licence.

Job done! Low cost - high value.

 Creative Commons - Choose a Licence page.



How to use Creative Commons Licences and more details about them.

READ MORE About Creative Commons licences ... here on 'Copy Rights and Wrongs' with an extended version of the ten key points, lots more information and some UK specific guidance.

 About 'Open Licences' (there's not just 'Creative Commons')

 Using Creative Commons licences ...

 Using Creative Commons licences with pupils ...

 Creative Commons and the Public Domain ...

 'Sharing Creative Works' is an 'e-comic' and is a good 'Creative Commons for Beginners' resource - pupils or teachers.  Made in the USA for CC it is published into the Public Domain - so you can use, transfer, translate or re-purpose it as you wish. It has one USA reference - the small print on slide/page 12 - but only as an example - UK users could add 'in the UK 'fair dealing' if they wished. It was made by Alex Roberts, Rebecca Rojer and Jon Phillips.
 Download as a pdf  'Sharing Creative Works'   (BTW. There's also a couple of versions on 'You Tube' with sound narration.)