Creative Commons Licenses Module Unit
While we can discuss the concepts and background rationale for Creative Commons license, perhaps the best way to appreciate them is by examining real stories of how it has been successfully applied.
The Big Question
The saying “standing on the shoulders of giants” expresses a meaning of discovering truth or gaining new knowledge by building on work of previous generations. And today we discover and build new things much faster, be it science, innovations in education or cultural trends. Being able to get inspired, use and build upon works of others is crucial to our development more than ever.
Try to think how today world would look like without open source powering the open web and mobile space (like what Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Android does). Or how we might have to create everything from scratch without the world of open content made available under Creative Commons licenses and from public domain. All of this allows people not only to get inspired but to build upon.
- Give examples of licenses applied for different uses, intentions
- Evaluate CC license choice for various projects/content
- Discuss which CC licenses are acceptable to a particular community
Personal Reflection / Why It Matters to You
Looking for success stories in different areas we tend to seek the most visible examples from mass media, often forgetting about how many examples of something much more valuable can much closer, in our communities.
Think about your work environment (or passion) how it is influenced by open content, open source and public domain. Can you find any examples of Creative Commons and public domain content around you or find some that would be useful for you? Who is making them and how do they speak about being open? Are they local or maybe there is some unconventional connections like resources from another country popular in yours? Take a moment to search for any examples.
If you cannot think of any examples off hand, you may ask in your social media channels for less commonly known sources of open content. Consider adding your examples to the CC Certification Space (link) and what you can learn of the people/organizations who have shared them. Or explore what others have shared there
Acquiring Essential Knowledge
You can discover successful Creative Commons license use among major organizations, institutions, and government agencies, with the numbers increasing all the time.
- The Met Makes Its Images of Public-Domain Artworks Freely Available through New Open Access Policy “Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today its adoption of a new policy: all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum’s collection are now available for free and unrestricted use. This updated policy, known as Open Access, utilizes the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation.” (7 February 2017)
- ESA Affirms Open Access Policy for Images, Videos and Data “ESA today announced it has adopted an Open Access policy for its content such as still images, videos and selected sets of data.” (20 February 2017)
But what is often unseen nor written about are the intentions of individual people and small institutions to start using Creative Commons (nor do we hear much about the consequences). We tend to seek huge and breaking stories about re-use when often small but incremental changes happen because something become open, available to use and modify, not only by other huge actors but maybe by school kids or independent artists.
Examples By Creative Commons License
Take a look at the Creative Commons overview of each license that includes examples of projects and people using those licenses:
Published in 2011 by Creative Commons and available in nine languages (Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish) The Power of Open provides case studies of how Creative Commons is used around the world by not only artists, but also news providers, scientists, publishers, museums, and more. Reading the whole book might take a while but just looking at the examples may help you with identifying projects and people closer geographically and similar thematically to your personal context.
Under their Open Access Policy, The World Bank has chosen CC BY as thaeir prefered license, allowing adaptations and translations of reports just by attributing them.
For a deeper dive you can also review the Wikipedia article about major CC licensed works around the world.
For a historical and big picture view of how use of Creative Commons licenses changes over time and what new actors come to play, visit the State of The Commons report from Creative Commons.
Are there examples here you find compelling? They might be worth sharing in the CC Certificates Community Space or adding to your Personal Toolkit
Media Platform Examples
Many platforms for hosting various types of user generated media integrate Creative Commons as an option for contributors. These platforms generally allow the user to choose to apply any of the six Creative Common licenses to their work.
Reviewing this may give you an idea of the breath of Creative Commons licensed content, and in some case, links to where they are used.
- Pixabay and Unsplash publish high quality images form photographers who don’t require attribution (photos are put in to the public domain using CC0) — but you can always buy them coffee.
- Wikimedia Commons hosts tens of thousands images under mostly open licenses incliding CC BY and CC BY-SA as well as Public Domain.
- XKCD, one of the most prolific webcomics, uses CC BY-NC to enable reuse by its fans.
- Author Cory Doctorow publishes most of his novels under CC BY-NC-SA licenses that makes fan-fiction remixes possible.
- One of the earliest adopters flickr includes hundreds of millions of photographs and videos licensed under Creative Commons. Furthermore the flickr Commons includes a vast collection of images placed into the public domain from a large list of institutions.
- SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Jamendo offer platforms for independent musicians to publish and share original music under Creative Commons licenses. And ccMixter is an ecosystem for musicians to share samples and create remixes all licensed under CC BY-NC.
- While https://youtube.com/ provides options for sharing video content under CC-BY, vimeo offers the full range of Creative Commons licensing options for its members who upload videos.
Do you use any of these media sources already to find content you can use? How many are new to you? If they are useful, you might want to add them to your Personal Toolkit. Or after exploring these, you might share in your social media places an example of content you found that might be useful to your work or interests.
Explore and complete at least one of the quests for this unit
Closing the Loop
By the end of this unit you should have taken in the view from perhaps some giant and ordinary shoulders. Consider what ideas you have gotten from seeing what they have shared.
You might think about collecting the valuable organizations, or places that included examples relevant to your field of work, and saving them to your Personal Learning Toolkit.
Perhaps there are examples you might share with your colleagues, or your social network. If you do share, please use the hashtag
Do not be surprised if the work you build upon someday is seen by someone else as shoulders worth standing upon.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).
Except where otherwise noted, this content is published under a CC BY license, which means that you can copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon the content for any purpose even commercially as long as you give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license.
“Examples of Licenses in Action” by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Available at
These certificates are part of the commons; if you find broken links or any other errors you can help by reporting them as an issue.