Welcome to an introduction to Creative Commons Licences.

This session will focus on the elements of Creative Commons Licences, Licence Types, User Obligations and Finding Creative Commons materials.

Creative Commons (CC) is an internationally active non-profit organisation that provides free licences for creators to use when making their work available to the public.

Creative Commons licenses are open access licences which give those who own the copyright of a work the ability to give express permission for others to use that copyrighted work eg. the right of others to copy, make derivatives or adaptations, to distribute and/or make money from the work.

There are four Licence elements:

  1. Firstly “Attribution”, which denotes that you must credit the creator, the title and the licence that the work is under.
  2. Secondly, “Non-Commercial” which indicates that a work must be used for non-commercial purposes only.
  3. The third element is “No derivative works” where only verbatim copies of works must be used, the work must not be changed in any way.
  4. The fourth element is “Share Alike”, which states that Any new work produced using this material must be made available under the same terms.

These elements can be paired together to create six different Creative Commons Licences from quite open licence like “Attribution” listed at the top of the table which allows, “Commercial and non-commercial use, users can copy, adapt or modify, distribute and license to others” to licences with more restrictions like “Attribution-Noncommercial-No derivative Works” which is only allowed for “non-commercial use, users can copy and distribute verbatim copies to others”.

More information about these licences can be accessed via the Creative Commons Australian website at –

Users of Creative Commons Licenced materials have specific obligations, including:

  • Always attribute the creator of the work
  • Get permission from the creator to do anything that goes beyond the terms of the licence
  • Keep any copyright notice attached to the work intact on all copies of the work
  • Indicate and link to the licence from any copies of the work
  • Where you make changes to the work, acknowledge the original work and indicate that changes have been made
  • Some creators require you to also send them a copy of any resources you create which incorporate their material.

It is important to be sure to check the licence terms on each item before use.

You should always attribute the original work by adding a notice giving the following information. These details can usually be found on the original item and include:

  • The name of the creator of the original work
  • The name of the item
  • The details of the licence it was provided under.
  • The web site address of the original item.

Here is an example attribution, you can see that it includes the Name of the creator, Title, Licence details and the website where the item was accessed.

There are different approaches that can be taken to locating items with Creative Commons Licences attached. Firstly, you can use the Creative Commons Search tool which allows you to search for these items by keyword in the collection you nominate.

The 'Advanced Search' in Google also allows you to limit your search to locating items by certain usage rights like 'free to use or share'.

In addition to these search options, there are also dedicated collections of Creative Commons Licenced items, including ABC Pool. It is important to remember, whichever means are used to locate Creative Commons resources, to check that a Creative Commons Licence is in place, be aware of the implications of the Licence and to attribute items correctly.