Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a way for creators to release rights to others.
Without these licenses, copyright assumes "all rights reserved." CC Licenses, in comparison, might be considered "some rights reserved." Which rights are reserved depends on the type of CC license applied.
Creative Commons Licenses allow creators to grant copyright permissions to their works in a standardized and easy manner. Depending upon the license, users can access content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon within the boundaries of copyright law.
Attribution or CC BY
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
View the License Deed and the Legal Code at the Creative Commons website.
Attribution-ShareAlike or CC BY-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
Attribution-NoDerivs or CC BY-ND
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
Attribution-NonCommerical CC BY-NC
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike or CC BY-NC-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs or CC BY-NC-ND
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
When you create OER content, it is best practice to openly license your work. Below are a few steps to help guide you in creating and sharing OER content.
Content adapted from UIC's Open Education Resources: Adopting or Creating Open Textbooks
If you are incorporating other OER into your work, it's important to think about how that impacts the license you choose. For example, if your source using a CC BY-SA, it will be important to use a compatible license since it requires "share alike" licensing for use.
There are resources to help you understand Creative Commons license compatibility. You can also reach out to a librarian with questions.