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Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons

Creative Commons Licensing

OER authors typically apply Creative Commons (CC) licenses to their work as an alternative to traditional copyright. CC licenses are designed to protect creators' rights while explicitly allowing for others to engage in the 5R activities. Once a CC license has been applied, it cannot be revoked.

There are six main CC licenses that can be applied to works. An additional seventh option releases work directly into the public domain.



Learn more about each CC license via the menu below.

CC BY: Attribution

This license lets others distribute, remix, adapt, 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.

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CC BY-SA: Share-Alike

This license lets others remix, adapt, 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.

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CC BY-ND: No Derivatives

This license lets others reuse the work for any purpose, including commercially; however, it cannot be shared with others in adapted form, and credit must be provided to you.

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CC BY-NC: Attribution, Non-Commercial

This license lets others remix, adapt, 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.

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CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike

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

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CC BY-NC-ND: Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives

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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CC0: "No Rights Reserved"

CC0 enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.

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Publications on Creative Commons

Choosing a License

After you've adapted or created an OER, it is time to apply a Creative Commons license! You can't revoke a CC license once it is assigned, so choose wisely.

The tools below can help you decide what's best for your work.

Attribution

Information on this page was adapted from Creative Commons, "About the Licenses," and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.