Creative Commons

Open education University of Windsor with book in background and open access lock

Creative Commons (

What is Creative Commons?

"Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. [Their] free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of 'all rights reserved' to 'some rights reserved’” (Creative Commons, 2014). - taken from

Creative Commons licenses allow creators to share their work and/or build upon the work of others. They are copyright licenses allow people to share, remix, or use the work without having to contact the copyright owner or seek permission - as long as the terms of the creative commons license are adhered to; they are not an exception to the copyright law, rather they are one avenue for copyright owners to distribute their work within the copyright framework.

There are many variations of Creative Commons licenses. Below are examples and definitions to help you understand any variation you may come across or you may wish to apply to any to any of your work.

Creative Commons Licenses


CC-BY: Users can Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute as long as they provide attribution.


CC BY Share-Alike: Users provide attribution and license their derivative work exactly the same way as the original (under a creative commons license.)


CC BY Non-Commercial: Users provide attribution and are not allowed to use the work for any commercial purpose.


CC BY No Derivatives: The work can’t be changed or altered in any way, but may be used if attribution is given. Does not meet the definition of an open educational resources.