A CC license is a Creative Commons license that authors use when they want to give other people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created. CC licenses are free, easy-to-use, and allow you to decide how your work can be used by others.

But why would you share your work?

Step 1: Considerations Before Choosing A License

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  • CC licenses are irrevocable. This means you may stop offering material under a CC license at any time, but this will not affect the rights associated with any copies of your work already in circulation.

  • Is a CC license appropriate for what you want to share? CC licenses should not be used for computer software.

  • Is the material copyrightable? CC licenses do not apply to anything in the Public Domain.

  • Do you own the material you want to copyright or are you authorized to copyright it? If not, you cannot apply a CC license to it.


You took a picture of a sunset on vacation and you want to share it, can you license it under the Creative Commons?

Step 2: Choose The Right License

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you are okay allowing others to modify your work? If not, then be sure to choose a license with no derivatives (ND).

  2. If you allow remixing, do others have to release their work under the same license? If so, choose a share alike (SA) license.

  3. Are you okay with people making money off the reuse of your work? If not, be sure to choose a non-commercial (NC) license.

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You own the copyright for a song, and you want to allow others to use it for educational purposes. Can you license it under CC?

Step 3: Apply A Creative Commons License To Your Work

CC-licensing your work is simple. Once you choose the CC license that suits your needs, communicate your choice in a way that will be clear to people who come across your work. As part of your communication, you should include a link to the license you’ve chosen.

Here is an example of a simple license communication:

© 2020. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license

When you use the Creative Commons license chooser, it will give you both the text and icon to use and embed on your website.

There are a number of sites that make it easy to share and apply a CC license to your work! These are just a few:

  • flickr

  • Free Music Archive

  • vimeo

  • YouTube

  • Wikipedia


What is the best way to communicate the license for your work?

Take Action

Creative Commons provides a variety of licenses to give you control over how your work is shared.

  • CC BY

  • CC BY-SA

  • CC BY-NC


  • CC BY-ND


  • CC0 or Public Domain

Now that you understand how to share your work under a CC license, consider contributing to the Commons by sharing your work on a Creative Commons platform like Free Music Archive or flickr.


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