The Creative Commons licensing system allows for a more flexible management of the exclusive rights offered by copyright law, giving the creators the ability to choose the kinds of protections and freedoms that will govern the use of their work.
It is often a misconception that Creative Commons is the opposite to copyright. Creative Commons can be thought of as a management solution for your copyright rights – every right you have as a result of being a copyright holder, you will have if you license work in terms of a Creative Commons license. The true opposite to copyright is public domain. Materials that are in the public domain are not covered by any intellectual property rights and offers the creator of the materials no protection.
Creative Commons licensing consists of 6 key licenses which consists of 4 main terms, namely, attribution, non-commercial, no derivative works and share alike. The graphic below briefly explains each term:
So if Creative Commons is not the opposite to copyright law but it offers licenses as an alternative to full copyright – how exactly does it operate within the legal system? See the graphic below for an explanation.
You do not need to register or pay any fees for making use of this licensing system. All you would need is place the notice of your license on your work, either via text or a license badge. These notices can be placed on both online and offline work. The Creative Commons organisation has a license chooser that is easy to use – choose the appropriate answers in the form and you’re ready to go.
Check out the other links on the site for more information about Creative Commons.