What is the Creative Commons License?

Creative Commons is a organisation that helps you share your work with others, but also protects you interests with methods that are consistent with copyright. So by using this license you can publish on the web and protect your work. However the CC license lets you go further than simple protection. Imagine you want to allow anyone to republish your work, or to quote your work in their own, CC allows you to enable other people to do this. You also have a granular control of the CC license, allowing use for say non-profit work, but denying anyone use who is going to charge for access to their content from including your free material. Equally you could allow everyone to reuse your work as long as its attributed to you.

Put simply the CC license allows you to:

share,remix, reuse – legally

The CC license can be used in a plethora of ways. Below are just a few examples!

1. Blogging

If your ever read any of my posts before you’ll notice that at the bottom of every post there is a little CC logo with an attribution and non-profit logo. This means I’m happy for all non-profit work to reuse any of my posts as long as you give me credit for the original work. With WordPress I use the Progressive License Plugin, which lets me set custom attributes to different types of posts.

2. Photos

Flickr.com is just one of the photo sites that lets you set CC attributes on your photo’s, meaning you can let someone use your amazing photo for their wall paper on their PC, but if you choose not to allow commercial reuse you wont find your picture turning up in some advertising campaign or magazine. (Although the armatures among use would be proud if it did)


The big buzz from CC at the moment is that soundcloud.com is a big supporter CC licenses. It allows music vendors to get their music out to the world and heard and shared legally. The cool feature on soundcloud.com for me is the CC-remix feature that allows you to download music sample it or remix it. You could use some of this music to accompany your youtube.com video clips either in the original format or remixed, but don’t forget to credit the original author!


There is a now a growing number of films being released under a CC license, one of my personal favourites is Big Buck Bunny, which you can download or stream for free, and yes you can even burn it DVD and share it with friends. The creative commons site also list a whole load more videos for your viewing pleasure.


The CC code license isn’t a full license as such its a meta data wrapper for your GNU GPL or LGPL licensed software. In effect it extends the attributes to those licenses allowing you to specify the terms and conditions of reuse for your code or software.

Why do all this for free?

You may want to publish your work for free for different reasons, maybe to gain fame in the music/video or blogging world or maybe just because you like to share, but if you want it to be free and you want people to notice it, without giving away all your rights check out the CC. Its the best way to protect yourself, and its free also!

If you use the Creative Commons please consider donating to it and supporting its running.

Thanks for reading.

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