Creative Commons

An overview

Mathieu

Mathieu

IT Law Specialist

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Creative Commons licenses are standard licenses, which can be used universally and give individuals the right to act on copyrighted materials. This includes photos, video images, etc. These licences are mainly of interest to creative minds such as artists, scientists, but also, for example, authors and teachers.

With these Creative Commons licences, they have a choice of six different standard licences. Each license gives a little more freedom to others to use your work for their own purposes. In this article, we’ll tell you more about these licenses and the way you can use them – Creative Commons licenses are standard licenses, which can be used universally and give individuals the right to act on copyrighted materials. This includes photos, video images, and so on. These licences are mainly of interest to creative minds such as artists, scientists, but also, for example, authors and teachers.

With these Creative Commons licences, they have a choice of six different standard licences. Each license gives a little more freedom to others to use your work for their own purposes. In this article, we’ll tell you more about these licenses and how to use them.

Structure of Creative Commons licenses

The Creative Commons licenses are made up of four different building blocks, these are: an attribution, a non-commercial use, no derivative works and equal sharing. The first building block in this list requires users of your work to add your name to the images or text. Think for example of a photo, which is placed on the website of the user. In this case, the user is allowed to change the image, but will always have to include your name.

By a non-commercial use we mean the possibility to use the work of others, provided this is not for commercial purposes. For example, a photo of others may not be sold, nor may it serve as a product photo. Both are for commercial purposes. However, the photo could be used in an informative text of others.

Definition of the ‘No Derivative Works’ building block

The “No Derivative Works” module allows others to copy and use work, but does not allow them to modify the work. For example, they may not add a filter, crop the image, and so on. This way, it is prevented that new work is developed by others from your own work. Something you might want to avoid!

The opposite of this “No Derivative Works” building block is the “Equal Sharing” building block. In this case you allow others to adapt your own work, to develop new work from it. However, you oblige a user to release this new work under the same license as the original work you developed yourself.

The six different Creative Commons licenses

From the building blocks described above, it is possible to create six different Creative Commons licenses. For example, you can choose a separate name listing, a name listing combined with equal sharing, a name listing with non-commercial use, a name listing with non-commercial use and equal sharing, a name listing with no derivative works, or a name listing with a non-commercial use and no derivative works.

Licenses with three different layers

Each of these licenses is made up of three different layers. The first layer is intended for machines and provides the necessary metadata. This way it becomes possible for search engines to identify the work. The same goes for other applications that run on your websites.

On this layer for machines there is a layer with the license summary. In this summary you can read in a normal language what rights there are at work and what consequences this has for users. This also includes the various icons that represent building blocks of the Creative Commons licenses.
The last layer concerns the license itself, also called the legal code. Here you will find the full license text, in combination with the small print that keeps the license intact in a legal process.

Apply for a Creative Commons license yourself

It is relatively easy to explain a Creative Commons license application for the work you have developed. Please note that there are certain conditions attached to this. First of all, it is important to check whether the material can be protected by copyright. This means that the work must be sufficiently original and must have no alternatives. After all, something you have copied from someone else’s work is not copyrighted in many cases. Nor do Creative Commons’ licences apply to ideas and concepts that fall within the public domain.

Once you have established that your work can be protected by copyright, it is important to check whether you are the copyright holder of the material. This is almost only true if you have developed the work entirely yourself. If you have copied part of the work of others, you are not the full owner. In this case, there may be the “Equal sharing” building block. This means that the work must be under the same license as the original work.

Determine which license best fits your work

The final step is to assess the most appropriate license for your work. Choose from one of the six licenses described:

Attribution
Attribution-ShareAlike
Attribution-NoDerivative Works
Attribution-Non-Commercial
Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike
Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivative Works

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