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Creative Commons Licensing

This guide is a basic primer to Creative Commons Licensing.

License

All original content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. It is not necessary to seek permission to reuse the content, although – per the terms of the license – attribution is required. Please attribute as follows: "Content from University of Oklahoma Libraries." All linked-to content adheres to its respective license.

Creative Commons License

Creating Open Educational Content

This page is designed to help you create content for teaching and research that is made to be shared and re-used by others.  This page contains

  • information on how to apply the Creative Commons licenses to content you create
  • some methods for creating and sharing your content with others

as well as links to additional resources about Creative Commons licensing.

The Open Washington website also has a great Attribution Builder to help you create a customized attribution for any work that you can associate with your created content.  

CC licensing for creating content

What do the CC licenses mean for someone who is creating educational content for teaching and research?

Each license will have a different impact on how your content can be used by others, so let's look at each license individually.


Attribution only or CC-BY License

This license lets you distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the licensed work, even commercially, as long as you credit the original creation/creator.  This is the most open license, you can re-use the content in any way, even in a commercial endeavor as long as you give proper credit to the content creator.  

Just a few of the options for re-mixing CC-BY licensed content

  • translate the content into another language
  • modify an image - change the colors, edit someone in or out, re-size, place the image into a video
  • combine multiple resources into one lesson/lecture
  • take only the content you want and mix it into your lectures/lessons
  • customize content to your location/discipline/focus - change examples, add different scenarios, change terms to reflect your discipline

When finished with remixing and revising, you only have to cite the creator, then you could

  • place the content into your D2L courses
  • add it to a webpage
  • print it in a handout
  • print it in a student manual (and you could publish/charge for that manual)
  • publish it in a journal article
  • publish it in a book

These are just a few examples, this is not an exhaustive list of how you can remix and reuse CC-BY licensed content.  The work that you create from this content can be licensed with any of the CC licenses.  

 

Attribution-ShareAlike  or 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. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. 

This license is as open as the CC-BY license, others can remix all they want (see the CC-By license for suggestions) as long as they ALSO share the final content under the same license structure.  

This is the license used by Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Commons. It is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.  Boundless Books is a good example of a company using Wikipedia content to create a new consumer product.  Many of their books contain edited content from Wikipedia, so they have made all of these books available for free from their website, with a CC BY-SA license.  They do charge for study materials and if you want a custom book.  

This is a very open license in terms of editing, and it also ensures that your content, and any content derived or created upon your content, will continue to be available for others to build upon.

 

Attribution-NonCommercial or 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.

Users have the same remixing options as they do with the CC-By license above, but their output must be non-commercial, that is they can't sell it.  What is interesting with this license is that they do NOT have to license their created work in the same way, so for example they could license your work as CC-BY, and not include the non-commercial.  So subsequent works built on your original work could be commercial.  

Some users may be unsure to what level you want to protect your content from commercialization.  For example, would it be OK for someone to place a link to your content onto a webpage that has advertising, what about copying your content onto a page that has advertising?  Do you view a commercial endeavor as strictly selling that content for profit?  Adding specifics about how you do or do not want your content used can be helpful to potential users.  

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike or 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.

Just to recap from above, they have the same remixing options as with the CC-BY license and here are just a few of the options for remixing and building upon CC BY-NC-SA licensed content 

  • modify an image - change the colors, edit someone in or out, re-size, place the image into a video
  • combine multiple resources into one lesson/lecture
  • take only the content you want and mix it into your lectures/lessons
  • customize content to your location/discipline/focus - change examples, add different scenarios, change terms to reflect your discipline

And, their output options are really the same; as long as the work is non-commercial (neither you or anyone else can sell the product), they can

  • place the content into their D2L courses
  • add it to a webpage
  • print it in a handout
  • print it in a student manual 
  • publish it in a journal article (as long as the journal is Open Access)
  • publish it in a book (if the book is Open Access)

Their output must also be licensed CC BY-NC-SA, so that it can be used by others, non-commercially for perpetuity (all future derivatives must also license anything they create with your content as CC BY-NC-SA).  

This is a very open license in terms of editing, and it also ensures that your content, and any content derived or created upon your content will continue to be available for others to to build on (through the SA clause) and all subsequent works will be non-commercial. 

Some users may be unsure to what level you want to protect your content from commercialization.  For example, would it be OK for someone to place a link to your content onto a webpage that has advertising, what about copying your content onto a page that has advertising?  Do you view a commercial endeavor as strictly selling that content for profit?  Adding specifics about how you do or do not want your content used can be helpful to potential users.  

Attribution-NoDerivs or 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.

The Non-derivative license is a bit more complicated, because there is some question about what constitutes a "derivative."  This license will allow others to redirect students to your content, and will make that content available to the general population, but it is not open to change or to being used in other systems.  

Some users tend to stay away from ND content because they are not sure how they can use it.  To assist users you can add additional text to your source pages letting them know what use permissions you are granting (for example - just to link to your content, to use the pages within another system as long as they are not altered, change formatting but not content).  Because of the uncertainty, it is best to make your intentions clear on your content sources. 

 

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs or 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.

The Non-derivative license is a bit more complicated, because there is some question about what constitutes a "derivative."   It is not clear that if you take this content and then place it into a system (like D2L or even onto your own website) that you are (or are not) creating a derivative.  

Some users tend to stay away from ND content because they are not sure how they can use it.  To assist users you can add additional text to your source pages letting them know what uses permissions you are granting (for example - just to link to your content, to use the pages within another system as long as they are not altered, change formatting but not content).  Because of the uncertainty, it is best to make your intentions clear on your content sources

Some users may be unsure to what level you want to protect your content from commercialization.  For example, would it be OK for someone to place a link to your content onto a webpage that has advertising, what about copying your content onto a page that has advertising?  Do you view a commercial endeavor as strictly selling that content for profit?  Adding specifics about how you do or do not want your content used can be helpful to potential users.  

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This is a very basic review of what you can do with CC licensed content, and there are many ways to get more information.  

We are here to help you select the best license for your content as well as sharing your content in the appropriate OER repositories so others can find and use what you have created. 

Disclaimer:  This information on Copyright, Fair Use and Creative Commons Licensing should be read for informational purposes only.  This site nor any of its contents constitute legal advice.

Content Creation Tools

Sharing your content can be as simple as placing a text document on your website...

  • If you are using Microsoft Office 2011 (PC only) you can download an Add-in that will allow you to place your selected CC license on your documents.  This license will also become part of the metadata for that document.  Find out more from the Microsoft Website
  • If you are using OpenOffice or LibreOffice, there is also a Creative Commons Add-in that allows license information to be embedded in OpenOffice.org Writer, Impress, Draw and Calc documents.  You can download  from OpenOffice and LibreOffice CC.  
  • There are other content creation applications that have CC licensing Add-Ins and a full list is available at the CC website.
  • You can use the CC license selector site to create HTML code to add to any webpage that you have made that you would like to share.  

If you would like to create and share your content in a repository designed for sharing Open Educational content,

  • Connexions (created and hosted at Rice University), provides a built in HTML editor and hosts your content in a public repository that allows them to mix and share.  You can export your content as a PDF or ePUB.
  • OER Commons Contribute Tools allow you to combine text, pictures, sound, files and video.  You can add CC licensing, print and download content as a PDF, and share with others through the OER Commons repository.

There are many additional ways to share your content with other educators.

  • OER Commons   The OER Commons is a single search source that pulls from multiple OER collections, including MERLOT and Connexions.   
    • Users can create collections of existing content and create their own content pages to share.
    • The OER Commons is a supported by ISKME (the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education).  
  • Connexions  includes lectures, assignments, and written educational materials.  Content can be created in the Connexions interface and housed within the Connections servers.  Users can create collections of existing content and create their own content pages to share. 
  • MERLOT (merlot.org) is a free and open peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community. MERLOT was opened in 1997 and is supported by the California State University System.  
    • MERLOT does not house content, but is a collection of links to other content.  The materials can be ranked and many are peer-reviewed.  There are discipline specific Communities that curate and review the content.  
    • You can create and share personal collections of content links.

There are many other repositories that are focused on specific disciplines, many are listed on the Discipline Specific OER Guide.  For more on creating and hosting Open Educational Resources, or on Creative Commons licensing, contact Jen Waller, Cody Taylor, or your liaison librarian.

Licensing Compatibility

When you have found the CC licensing you want to use, it is important to know how you can license your adapteed work.  Here is a table of the CC licenses - and how that license can be subsequently licensed.  Also watch the video below for another look at combining licenses.  

  Resulting work can be licensed as:      
Orinignal License BY BY-SA  BY-NC   BY-NC-SA BY ND   BY-NC-ND
CC BY X  X
CC BY-SA          
CC BY-NC    X    
CC BY-NC-SA          
CC BY-ND*            
CC BY-NC-ND*            

*For ND licensed content you would just be providing links to the content and not remixing they content into a new creation, you are not restriced in how you licsense the content you create. 

Creating Content with OERs

Watch the second half of this video at the bottom of the CC for Users page.

Publishing your open content

Creating OER Links