Creative Commons

Network Literacy June 21, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Default copyright

Under U.S. Law, a copyright is established when one creates a work in a “fixed and tangible form.” Another individual wanting to use that copyrighted work legally must contact the copyright owner and request permission.

Creative Commons (CC) licenses give permission for specific public uses

Creative Commons offers a suite of copyright licenses that allow the copyright holder to make the work available to the public for certain uses while maintaining copyright to that work. CC licenses encourage sharing and re-use of copyrighted works.

Creative Commons licenses provide the conditions for use of a work up front, so people who want to use your work do not have to contact the copyright holder for permission. They can legally use the work as long as they follow the conditions set in the work's CC license.

A CC license is a tool that will allow creators to further promote free public access and use of their work, which is a consideration often written into research grants today.

Why publish under CC license?

  • You encourage others to use, remix, and redistribute your original works.
  • A CC license is a widely-known standard and has a version of the license that is easy for a layperson to read and understand.
  • You can set your requirements for others to use (e.g., non-commercial, attribution, etc.).
  • It's more efficient to communicate conditions of use up front, rather than fielding requests for permission under the default “All Rights Reserved” copyright.
  • CC licenses are recognized internationally.

See the Creative Commons licenses page for the details on each license type.

For more information
Creative Commons: Information from the University of Minnesota Libraries.



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.