Licensing of rights is at the center of the publishing business. Publishing contracts are rights licenses, nothing more or less. People who work in publishing, and who supply the publishing industry with its raw materials—the authors—become used to dealing with the expressions of creativity as valuable products with inherent rights.
Both the incentives provided by intellectual property and the freedom provided by the public domain are crucial to the balance. But most contemporary attention has gone to the realm of the protected.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.
- 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, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.
- Attribution Share-Alike (cc by-sa)
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
- Attribution No Derivatives (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 Non-Commercial (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 Non-Commercial Share Alike (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. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.
- Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (cc by-nc-nd)
This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
- Your copyright in your creation is effective as soon as you fix your creative expression in a form. Although there are various mechanisms to register your copyright, it exists when your original work is created.
- It’s often wise to list a copyright in your work to eliminate the ambiguity caused by not having any notice at all of rights ownership
- Creative Commons gives you a way to share works you’ve created in a flexible way, but it is optional. Your rights are assumed to be “all rights reserved” unless you state otherwise.