How to Use Creative Commons License

When you create a written, video, sound recording, or other audio-visual work you have exclusive rights, called copyright, to that work from the time of creation in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. If you decide that you want to share your work, without losing or compromising any of your rights, you have the ability to license the work to be shared through Creative Commons.


  1. Image titled Use Creative Commons License Step 1
    Decide how you want to share your work. There are several options to consider when making a choice of a license.
  2. Image titled Use Creative Commons License Step 2
    Select whether you would want to allow your work to be modified. Modifications are known as derivations. The "ND" designation prohibits tweaking, changing, or modifying your work.
  3. Image titled Use Creative Commons License Step 3
    Choose the jurisdiction of your license. If you use the Creative Commons license builder, you can restrict the locations that may share your work. You can designate that your work can only be shared in your home country, for example.
  4. Image titled Use Creative Commons License Step 4
    Make sure you specify the correct designation if you manually create the license. There are 6 licenses available and all are "Creative Commons By Attribution", written as "CC-BY" with variables added. The number is not required, but it tells the version the license was created under. All works must be attributed to you in the manner that is prescribed by its creator. Licenses are written as follows:
    • CC-BY: Creative Commons By Attribution. This means that your work can be tweaked, remixed, and built upon, and is even open for commercial sharing. If you don't want your creation changed or commercialized, you should specify using the designations.
    • CC-BY-ND: Creative Commons By Attribution Non-Derivative. This means that your work can be shared, but must not be changed in any way.
    • CC-BY-NC: Creative Commons By Attribution Non-Commercial. This means that your work can be shared, and must not be used in any way for commercial means.
    • CC-BY-SA: Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike. This allow users to remix, tweak, build upon, and share for commercial purposes under the same original license terms. This is closely related to "copyleft", which is free and open source for software. Most all of the wiki projects are licensed this way.
    • CC-BY-NC-ND: Creative Commons By Attribution. This allows only download and sharing in its original form with full credit attribution and in no way used for commercial purposes. This is the most strict license, allowing sharing of the original, only.
    • CC-BY-NC-SA: Creative Commons By Attribution. This lets others remix, tweak and build upon the work and share it provided it is not for commercial purposes.
  5. Image titled Use Creative Commons License Step 5
    Label the work with the correct designation at the bottom of the first page, on the title page, or signature page, and randomly throughout, if you like, but only that page is necessary. The copyright symbol is not necessary because the use of the CC means the same thing.


  • When you choose a license, we provide you with HTML you can use to add the license information to your site and information on how to select a license on one of several free hosting services that have incorporated Creative Commons. This is not a registration and we do not retain a record of your selection.[1] CC-BY-3.0 Creative Commons.
  • If you want to make the license an HTML for a website you can use a license creator like the one on the creative commons.
  • Licenses are occasionally updated. It is important that the license is of the proper version. If an object that is licensed as 3.0 is copied, and the license is updated to 4.0, the copy should carry the 4.0 license.


  • Creative Commons must never be interchanged or confused with Public Domain. Anything labeled CC is enforceable under copyright law, whereas Public Domain is not legally operative. Declared Public Domain items will be labeled "Public Domain", "CC0", "PDM", "Unlicensed" or "No Known Copyright". The "No Known Copyright" is the most questionable because the copyright status is unknown, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
  • The lack of a CC or copyright symbol does not mean the item is not copyrighted.
  • Anything labeled "Some Rights Reserved" will fall into the categories where either derivation, commercialization, or jurisdiction remains restricted in some way, even if it is shared under a CC license.
  • With the exception of the CC-BY-NC license, every Creative Commons work must carry the same license as the original.

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Categories: Web Writing and eBooks