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Open Educational Resources: Licensing OERs

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons copyright licences allow the legal sharing and reuse of creative content. They can enable sharing of open educational resources by allowing creators to share their work with varying conditions specifying permissions for reuse and adaptation by others.    

Why use Creative Commons?

  • Without a Creative Commons licence or a similar licence any work is by default restricted for reuse by others.
  • A creative commons licence will allow others to use your content. 
  • It allows you to easily specify licensing conditions to do with attribution, adaptation and further sharing. 
  • CC licences are quick to apply and universally recognised. 

Open licences

Open licences permit people to use and share content. Some licences permit you to modify or adapt content. It is important to read the terms and conditions of an open licence as there are slight differences in the type of open licence applied to content.

The most common type of open licence scheme is Creative Commons, and we have provided further information to guide you in applying a CC licence. Other types of open licence schemes generally relate to software and include the following:

Searching for Creative Commons content

CC Search allows you to access different search services from different organisations.  

Google and Google Images, Flickr, YouTube, Wikimedia Commons and many other websites and search engines allow you to search by CC licences and find reusable content. It is still recommended to check the license for any content found using any search service.

See Finding OERs for more information on how to filter content.

Creative Commons licences

The Attribution licence (CC BY) allows anyone to distribute and adapt a work, even commercially, as long as the original creator is credited. 

The Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) licence allows anyone to distribute and adapt a work, even for commercial purposes, as long as the original creator is credited and any adaptation is credited under identical terms.

The Attribution Non-Commerical (CC-BY-NC) licence lets anyone distribute or adapt a work as long as it is non-commercially and the original creator is acknowledged.

The Attribution No Derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence allows for anyone to distribute a work, even commercially, as long as the original creator is acknowledged and the work has not been adapted.

The Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) licence lets anyone distribute and adapt a work non-commercially as long as the original creator is acknowledged and shared under identical terms.

The Attribution Non-Commercial  No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence allows anyone to distribute a work non-commercially as long as the original author is credited and it is not adapted in any way. 

Creative Commons licence chooser

Creative Commons License Chooser has been set up to help select a licence within a few easy steps although you may want to be familiar with licensing conditions.