Creative Commons Licenses–A Basic Course

I recently posted about how to find Creative Commons images for blog use–and someone reminded me not to forget the various levels of Creative Commons licenses. For example, if your blog has ads on it (like I do–because I’m trying to cultivate an additional source of income for paying my student loans), then you can’t use any CC licenses that are NonCommercial. I must confess–I didn’t even remember that part when sharing my tips for finding free-to-use pictures, and when I chose my pictures, I didn’t even think to check for any NonCommercial clauses. Now I will (So, if I happened to use your NonCommercial picture on this or my Running With A Book Cart blog, please just comment, and I will take it down promptly.)

So, to atone for my error, I’m going to give a basic rundown of the different CC licenses, thanks to the Creative Commons website. (All information below is shared according to the CC BY license). This is mostly to help me remember (writing is always the best way for me to remember things), but I do hope this helps you too.

Later on, I’ll be making more posts about how to find CC pictures for blogs–there are even MORE sources! By the way, with Flickr, you can also search images for ones that will let you use it commercially (on blogs that have ads) by checking a box under the Advanced Search screen.

CC BY license indicator

The first one is the simplest–the Creative Commons “by” license. You can use the material for anything so long as you properly attribute the creator (BY).

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

Copyright license image for BY and SA

The second one, “BY SA,” means you can do whatever you want to do, so long as you attribute (BY) also let others “share alike” (SA). I really like this one, because it sort of forces others to pay it forward with their copyright.

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

Creative Commons BY and ND license image

This one is the BY ND license–meaning anyone can use the work as long as they properly attribute it (BY) and don’t make any derivative works (ND). This one is good for pictures, if you don’t want anyone photoshopping it or tweaking it. But if you use it on your blog, it makes me wonder whether others would have to use the ENTIRE long post when sharing your particular blog post. It’s sort of troublesome in this regard, but is handy if you’re afraid of people remixing your work too much.

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Creative Commons license image for BY NC

This one is a little bit nicer than the BY ND license above. With this one, as long as you attribute (BY), you can do whatever you want with their work, so long as you’re not making commercial use out of it (NC). So, if you have a blog with ads on it, you’re getting commercial gain (with the pitifully small ads, but still), and that rules out NC licenses entirely. This is where I tripped up–I wasn’t checking for NC.

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

BY NC SA license image

If you’re really fond of making others Share Alike and don’t want anyone making any money, then the BY NC SA is a great license. On the other hand, this could also prevent the creator from making money too. Say, you have published a song under the BY NC SA license, that means big name music websites that have commercials can’t share your song, and therefore you lose out on an audience. So, it does have its drawbacks.

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Creative Commons BY NC ND license image

This one is the most strict, the BY NC ND license. It’s probably the best for people who aren’t quite ready for the big wide world of Creative Commons, and want to hang on to the most rights they can without using regular old copyright.

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

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One Response to Creative Commons Licenses–A Basic Course

  1. Pingback: Crash Course in Creative Commons Licenses for Bloggers | Running With A Book Cart

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