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Open Educational Resources

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers an alternative method for sharing one's work. Creative Commons allows creators to determine exactly how they want their work to be used by selecting a licenses comprised of at least one of four conditions. Whether you are looking for Creative Commons licensed content to use in a project or you want to give your work a CC license, this page covers the four licenses conditions, the different types of licenses, and how to create an attribution for Creative Commons content, so that you can provide proper credit in your own work.

Types of Licenses

Different types of creative commons licenses ranging from most open to most restrictive

Using the four different license conditions (attribution, share-alike, non-commercial, no-derivatives), you can build a Creative Commons license for your work, based on how you want others to use it.

  • Public Domain mark- “no known copyright”: used for works that are in the public domain and therefore not restricted by copyright. This includes works in the U.S. published before 1923.
  • CC0- “no rights reserved”: given when the creator waives all rights to their work so that anyone can use it and build upon it without any restrictions under copyright or database law.
  • CC-BY: you must provide credit to the creator; this includes linking to their work or artist page within the attribution.
  • CC-BY-SA: you must provide credit and use the same license as the original on your own work.
  • CC-BY-NC: you must provide credit and you cannot make money using this work.
  • CC-BY-NC-SA: you must provide credit, you can’t make money with it, and you must use the same license on your own work.
  • CC-BY-ND: you must provide credit and you can't change the original work at all.
  • CC-BY-NC-ND: you must provide credit, you can’t make money with it, and you can’t change the original work at all.

 

Create an Attribution

Attributions for Creative Commons licensed content allow you to provide credit to the creator of the work you are using. Creators do not make any money when the license their content under Creative Commons, so providing attribution provides publicity, which can further increase awareness of their work.

Across the internet, you will see attributions presented differently. Unlike style guides such as MLA and APA, there is not a strict formula that you must follow for providing attribution, but there are key elements to include and best practices to follow. The following information can be used to create an attribution, especially if one is not already provided on the website.


To create an attribution, locate the title, creator, and license for the image. With Flickr and Wikimedia Commons, this information is easy to find, but it may be more difficult to locate on other sites that appear in a Google Images search.

Once you locate the necessary information, you can create an attribution, using the following formula:

[Title] by [Creator] is licensed under a [license name] license.

Creating a Creative Commons attribution for a Flickr image

Click on the image to open it to full size in a new window.

Above is an image depicting how to create an attribution for a Flickr image. The attribution would read, "Brooklyn Bridge by Martin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license." Alternatively, you can abbreviate the license name. The attribution would then read, "Brooklyn Bridge by Martin is licensed under a CC BY 2.0 license.  

Attributing non-CC licensed content

There are sites that don't use Creative Commons licenses to make their content available. Instead, they might apply their own license, so it is important to look through the website for information about licensing and attribution. While not all licenses require attribution, all content created by someone else should be acknowledged in academic work.

Here are some examples of how to attribute non-CC licensed content in your multimedia projects.

Unsplash

The Unsplash license allows you to use images for free, for commercial and noncommercial purposes. Attribution is not required but encouraged.

Suggested attribution: Photo by [creator] on Unsplash.

Provide links to creator's page and Unsplash.com.

 


Videvo

Videvo has four licenses for video; licenses are listed on individual video pages:

Royalty free: free to use, attribution is not required

Video Attribution License: free to use, but you must provide attribution. The attribution can be: Video by [creator] on Videvo.

Creative Commons 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0): refer to information on this page about attributing CC licensed work

NASA Guidelines: refer to NASA Guidelines for use of imagery

 

Pixabay