Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is an organisation that promotes the use of the Creative Commons copyright licensing, a license that allows the use and transformation of materials that is released under it. The degree of which it can be used is determined by the type of Creative Commons, ranging from complete transformation to limited use. This license creates a massive library of pre-existing work that can be used and adapted upon without fear of copyright issues. It is intended for creative and educational use, providing students with the opportunity to use professional level images and audio.

How does one obtain a Creative Commons license?

You can obtain a license for your work by visiting the Creative Commons website. Here you will be able to apply the license to your work by entering in the HTML to your website or platform. You can also download the Creative Commons Add-in for microsoft and add the license to Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents. 

What are the different types of licenses offered?

There are 6 types of CC copyright licences 

  • Attribution (CC BY)

This is the broadest license, allowing people to change, build upon and completely rework your work, even for commercial purposes, as long as it is credited to the original creator. This is favoured for those that want to provide completely adaptable work for free.

  • Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)

Similar to the previous license, this one allows for the complete reworking of material for even commercial purposes. However, this license requires the new user to incorporate the material into a similar project, for example, since Wikipedia holds this license, one could take an excerpt from that site and use it on their own education site, as long as they credited the original source.

  • Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

This license allows users to redistribute another work, even commercially, but are unable modify it in any way, and must credit the original creator.

  • Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

This license lets others remix, adapt, 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. Similar to the “Attribution” license, the content is free to be modified and adapted, however, it must not be for commercial use and must credit the original author.

  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

The use of this license allows users to change your work by adapting, adding or modifying it non-commercially. The new creator must licence their work under the same terms of the original and give credit for the original content.

  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

This licence gives allowance to people to be able to download your created material and share it with other people, although they must give you credit. This makes it the most restrictive licence. In addition they are not allowed to change your work in any way or use your work commercially. 

Where can content makers find Creative Commons material?

Content makers can search and find content via the, when on that page the content maker can simply type in keywords or license and material types allowing them to reuse creative and academic work. 

Other sites are helpful for when the is difficult for the user to find what they are looking for. Other sites with creative commons content are listed in the table below:


Creative Commons, What We do, viewed 6th April, <

Creative Commons Australia, Finding Creative Commons Licensed Materials, viewed 6th April, <>

Queen’s University Library 2018, How to Apply Creative Commons License to Your Work, viewed 6th April, <>

Authors: Sophie Brown, Tori Saros, James Burns and Emily Rattenbury


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