As art goes digital, it becomes easy to copy and remix. This is great in many ways. But it’s also important for artists to know that there are tools out there to help them communicate how they would like their work to be used.
Creative Commons (CC) licensing was founded in 2001 by lawyer and academic Laurence Lessig as he and the folks around him saw a need for a new kind of licensing in the digital age.
There are a few flavors of CC. Some give you permission to use and remix work with no boundaries at all while others have some requirements. From the CC web page:
- Attribution CC 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.
- Attribution ShareAlike CC BY-SA. 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.
- Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND. This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
- Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-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.
- Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA. 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.
- Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND. 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.
TAKE IT FURTHER
- To see examples for each kind of CC and to download license tags for your own use, go here
- LL’s 2007 TedTalk on CC here