Lesson 2: Creative Commons

Copyright & Fair Use


Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a way that copyright owners allow others to use and sometimes remix their work without first asking permission. Works with a CC license allow re-use of the work under certain conditions depending on the license chosen by the copyright holder.

Watch this 3 minute video to understand Creative Commons.

Video | A Shared Culture

The Licenses

Creative Commons licenses indicate what the copyright owner expects from people re-using their work through the specific terms of each license. Review this Creative Commons "About our licenses" information page for more information. In particular, read the details of all six licenses listed in the second half of this page.

Finding Creative Commons Licensed Material

When creating a new work that will incorporate other images or audio, searching for Creative Commons or similarly licensed works that meet that need is an easy way to ensure you're in compliance with copyright law. Creative Commons hosts a Creative Commons Search page that links to multiple search engines that include Creative Commons-licensed material, but licensed content can be found in many common search engines including Google (Google Search Help page on searching by usage rights).

Check your understanding

Why do we need a system to allow content creators to license their works in the way that Creative Commons licenses allow?

Because copyright protection automatically covers all qualified creative works, regardless of whether or not their creators want to prevent other people from using their works in the prohibited ways. CC licenses make it possible for copyright owners to give broad permission for people to reuse their works in certain ways so that everyone wouldn't need to individually ask them for permission.