What are Creative Commons licenses?
Creative Commons licenses are used to indicate whether people are legally allowed to "share, modify, revise, and otherwise use content." If you'd like to designate your work as an OER, a Creative Commons license is the key.
The symbols below may look confusing at first, but each one has a specific legal meaning (check out this post where we break down the specifics in plain, clear language). Essentially, Creative Commons provides an alternative to traditional copyright, and lets you share content more freely.
Copyright v.s. Creative Commons
Under traditional copyright law, the creator retains the rights to their work ("all rights reserved"). This offers many automatic protections to creators. But what if you want to share your content? Creative Commons emerged as a way to allow more sharing, while still giving credit to the original creator.
The Six Creative Commons Licenses
Each one of the boxes above is a unique Creative Commons license. CC BY, for example, offers different permissions than the one below it, CC BY SA. As you get used to looking for CC licenses, they become more familiar - but if you'd like a quick and easy answer on which license to use, try this tool from Creative Commons.
Understanding Creative Commons Symbols
The symbols below are all found in the CC licenses. By reading each one, we can get a sense of what the license permits.
What content is OK to post on a course site?
Materials can be posted on the OpenLab or another content management system if:
The copyright holder of the material grants permission (via a Creative Commons license or written consent) or you are the copyright holder of the material
The material is made available by linking to a version made publicly accessible from the copyright holder
The material is in the public domain
From Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office
What if a work has no license displayed on it?
You must assume it is under full copyright and seek permission from the right's holder in order to use. Alternatively, find a CC licensed version.
When in doubt, link out!
If a material is freely available online (but is not public domain or CC licensed), always provide a link to that material to avoid copyright violation.
Using library resources? Generate durable links to them!
Read about the limitations and freedoms of CC licenses via this 2015 court ruling.