Last Updated: 12 Oct, 2023     Views: 18

Creative Commons licences give people permission in advance to use your work in certain ways. The conditions of the licence show the freedom that people have in using your work.

The Creative Commons organisation has a licence chooser tool to help you decide which licence best suits your needs, but here are some things to keep in mind:

CC licences are irrevocable.

  • Once you have made something available with a CC licence, you have given everyone permission to keep and share a copy of that work with that licence.
  • You can take down the original and replace it with a different version that has a different licence, but the old version of the work with the old licence is still out there, and you can't take it back.
  • If in doubt, choose a more restrictive licence to begin with, then release another version with a less restrictive licence when you are comfortable doing so.

The less restrictive the licence is, the more people can do with it

  • Many people are nervous about using licences with ND, NC or SA conditions, as they aren't sure what they are allowed to do with them. The more open the licence, the more people feel comfortable using the work.
  • The more restrictive your licence is, the harder it is to combine (remix) your work with other works. This may mean some people cannot use your work for the project they are working on.
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, consider giving the most open licence you can.

You may be obligated to use a certain licence.

  • If you are creating work for a particular organisation or purpose, you may be required to give your work a certain licence. If so, you will need to ensure that all of your third-party materials are compatible with that licence, or look for alternatives.
  • If you are using third-party materials that have an SA (ShareAlike) condition as part of their CC licence, you will need to apply the same licence to your own work (and make sure all of your other third-party materials are compatible).

You cannot apply a CC licence to work you do not own.

  • If you have used any third-party material (e.g. images, graphs, etc., that you did not create yourself), you cannot include them in the work you make available with a CC licence unless you have permission to do so.
  • Wherever possible, use material that is compatible with the CC licence you want to apply to your own work.
  • If you need to request permission from the copyright holder to use their work, make sure it is clear that you wish to apply a CC licence to the end product and try to get them to agree to this use in writing (an email is sufficient).