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Creative Commons Licenses

Information About Applying Creative Commons Licenses To Your Work

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that created a set of simple, easy-to-understand copyright licenses. These are legally enforceable licenses that are meant to be simple to implement and easy for the average person to understand, and can be used to provide access to creative work in a standardized fashion. These licenses do not replace copyright, but are built upon copyright allowing the creator to create explicit guidelines for how their work can be used.

As the Author and copyright holder you retain a certain bundle of rights to your work including the right:

  • To Reproduce
  • To Distribute
  • To Prepare Derivative Works or Adaptations
  • To Display or Perform the Work
  • To Allow Others to Exercise Any of These Rights, ie license your work.

Why Should I Use Creative Commons?

If someone wants to use your copyrighted work for any of the above uses, they must ask for your permission.  By using a Creative Commons license, you're encouraging those types of uses you want without the hassle of permissions. 

For example: The CC BY license provides the most freedom for the user, it tells them what they can do as long as they give credit to the original author; whereas the CC BY NC allows all the freedom of the CC BY license except it does not allow commercial uses of the author's work.

The table below describes the 6 Creative Commons Licenses with explanation of each. For more details about each, and to review the legal code visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Chart adapted from Guide to Creative Commons for Humanities and Social Science Monograph Authors

1. Ask your self the following questions:

  • Is the material copyrightable?
  • Do you own the material you want to license?
  • Are you aware that CC licenses are not revocable? You are free to stop offering material under a CC license at any time, but you may not retrospectively revoke the license.

 

2. Decide which license to use:

 

3. Include the license on your work:

For graduate students submitting ETDs in FIU Digital Commons, simply select the license you want from the drop down on your ETD submission form in Digital Commons. The button and license statement will be automatically generated and applied to your work.

For Authors applying licenses outside of Digital Commons:

For online material: Select the license that is appropriate for your material from the CC license chooser and then follow the instructions to include the HTML code. The code will automatically generate a license button and a statement that your material is licensed under a CC license. If you are only licensing part of a work (for example, if you have created a video under a CC license but are using a song under a different license), be sure to clearly mark which parts are under the CC license and which parts are not. The HTML code will also include metadata, which allows the material to be discovered via Creative Commons-enabled search engines.

For offline material: Identify which license you wish to apply to your work and either (a) mark your work with a statement such as, “This work is licensed under the Creative Commons [insert description] License. To view a copy of the license, visit [insert url]"; or (b) insert the applicable license buttons with the same statement and URL link.

For third-party platforms: Many media platforms like Flickr, YouTube, and SoundCloud have built-in Creative Commons capabilities, letting users mark their material with a CC license through their account settings. The benefit of using this functionality is that it allows other people to find your content when searching on those platforms for CC-licensed material. If the platform where you're uploading your content does not support CC licensing, you can still identify your content as CC-licensed in the text description of your content.

Legally, these three options are the same. The only difference between applying a CC license offline rather than online is that marking a work online with metadata will ensure that users will be able to find it through CC-enabled search engines.

CC offers resources on the best practices for marking your material and on how to mark material in different media (.pdf).

 

 

 

What kinds of materials can I use a CC BY License on?

CC licenses may be applied to any type of work, including educational resources, [music]https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Musician "wikilink"), photographs, databases, government and public sector information, and many other types of material. The only categories of works for which CC does not recommend its licenses are computer software and hardware. You should also not apply Creative Commons licenses to works that are no longer protected by copyright or are otherwise in the public domain. Instead, for those works in the worldwide public domain, we recommend that you mark them with the Public Domain Mark.

Are Creative Commons licenses enforceable in a court of law?

Creative Commons licenses are drafted to be enforceable around the world, and have been enforced in court in various jurisdictions. To CC's knowledge, the licenses have never been held unenforceable or invalid.

CC licenses contain a “severability” clause. This allows a court to eliminate any provision determined to be unenforceable, and enforce the remaining provisions of the license.

Do I need to register with Creative Commons before I obtain a license?

No. CC offers its licenses, code, and tools to the public free of charge, without obligation. You do not need to register with Creative Commons to apply a CC license to your material; it is legally valid as soon as you apply it to any material you have the legal right to license.

CC does not require or provide any means for creators or other rights holders to register use of a CC license, nor does CC maintain a database of works distributed under Creative Commons licenses. CC also does not require registration of the work with a national copyright agency.

How do I apply a Creative Commons license to my material outside of FIU Digital Commons?

For online material: Select the license that is appropriate for your material from the CC license chooser and then follow the instructions to include the HTML code. The code will automatically generate a license button and a statement that your material is licensed under a CC license. If you are only licensing part of a work (for example, if you have created a video under a CC license but are using a song under a different license), be sure to clearly mark which parts are under the CC license and which parts are not. The HTML code will also include metadata, which allows the material to be discovered via Creative Commons-enabled search engines.

For offline material: Identify which license you wish to apply to your work and either (a) mark your work with a statement such as, “This work is licensed under the Creative Commons [insert description] License. To view a copy of the license, visit [insert url]"; or (b) insert the applicable license buttons with the same statement and URL link.

For third-party platforms: Many media platforms like Flickr, YouTube, and SoundCloud have built-in Creative Commons capabilities, letting users mark their material with a CC license through their account settings. The benefit of using this functionality is that it allows other people to find your content when searching on those platforms for CC-licensed material. If the platform where you're uploading your content does not support CC licensing, you can still identify your content as CC-licensed in the text description of your content.

Legally, these three options are the same. The only difference between applying a CC license offline rather than online is that marking a work online with metadata will ensure that users will be able to find it through CC-enabled search engines.

CC offers resources on the best practices for marking your material and on how to mark material in different media (.pdf).