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Education & Development

OpenLearn welcomes Creative Commons 4.0

Updated Thursday 6th March 2014

The OpenLearn team is pleased to announce that it is making its content available under the new suite of Creative Commons licences. 

An introduction to Creative Commons

This video was created by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand with support from InternetNZ. Although it is from a New Zealand perspective, it offers a good introduction to what Creative Commons is and how it can be used.

Why have we upgraded our licence?

Creative Commons explains what's new in 4.0:

Creative Commons worked for more than two years to develop the next generation of CC licenses — the version 4.0 CC license suite. The new licenses are more user-friendly and more internationally robust than ever before.

We made dozens of improvements to the licenses. Most will go unnoticed by many CC licensors and licensees, but some of them deserve particular attention.

A more global license

In the past six years, Creative Commons has worked with hundreds of volunteers around the world – literally, some of the best minds in copyright law and open licensing on the planet – to translate and adapt the 3.0 and earlier licenses to local laws in over 60 jurisdictions (what we call "porting"). In the process, we’ve learned a lot about how our licenses work internationally and how they’re impacted by the nuances of copyright law in various jurisdictions.

We drew on this experience in the process of developing 4.0. We’ve worked closely with our wide international network of affiliates and countless other experts and stakeholders to make 4.0 the most internationally enforceable set of CC licenses to date. The 4.0 licenses are ready-to-use around the world, without porting.

The new licenses have improved terminology that’s better understood worldwide. With the release of 4.0, we’re also introducing official translations of the CC licenses, so that users of CC-licensed material around the world can read and understand the complete licenses in their local languages.

Credit: Creative Commons licensed for reuse under CC BY

You can find out more about the new suite of licences from the Creative Commons website.

Under which licence does OpenLearn release its content?

We aim to make OpenLearn content freely available for non-commercial educational use in all media worldwide under the Creative Commons licence 'Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International' (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). In the OpenLearn free courses in which we own copyright, these are also available for you to use under this licence. Full details can be found in the 'Acknowledgements' section of each course.

Under this licence you are free to:

  • Share OpenLearn content (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format).
  • Adapt OpenLearn content (remix, transform and build on the material).

However, the following terms apply:

  • Your use is ‘non-commercial’.
  • You always cite The Open University, retain the name of any original authors and provide a link to the licence.
  • You ‘share-alike’; that is, make any original or derivative works available under the same terms as our licence to you.

Full details of this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.

More information about how to reuse OpenLearn content can be found in the Copyright and Intellectual Property section of our Frequently Asked Questions.


For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

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