About CC

Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world. If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work you’ve created, you should consider publishing it under a Creative Commons license. CC gives you flexibility (for example, you can choose to allow only non-commercial uses) and protects the people who use your work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions you have specified.

If you’re looking for content that you can freely and legally use, there is a giant pool of CC licensed creativity available to you. There are hundreds of millions of works – from songs and videos to scientific and academic material – available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day.

The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. That someone is Creative Commons.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs. We’ve collaborated with intellectual property experts around the world to ensure that our licenses work globally. In December 2002, Creative Commons released its first set of copyright licenses for free to the public. Creative Commons developed its licenses alongside a Web application platform to help you license your works freely for certain uses, on certain conditions; or dedicate your works to the public domain. In the years following the initial release, Creative Commons and its licenses have grown at an exponential rate around the world. The licenses have been further improved, and ported to over 50 jurisdictions.

More information is available on the Creative Commons website.

Example cases

  • netwaves is a weekly radio show, podcast and compilation with free music picked directly from the artist or his/her netlabel. netwaves specializes in electronic music from all kinds. All content and music on netwaves is CC licensed.
  • Electrobel is a free online community for electronic music artists that also features free downloads of submitted music. Electrobel uses CC licenses to share the submitted music.
  • DeWereldMorgen.be is a Dutch-speaking Belgian news website. All content is submitted under a CC license.

A shared culture

An explanation of Creative Commons using work licensed under Creative Commons licenses.

A Shared Culture by Jesse Dylan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.