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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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4.4 How do Creative Commons (CC) licences work?

You will have seen from the video that Creative Commons (CC) licences work within existing copyright laws to protect digital property. They make it easy to share and reuse online content, and ensure the terms and conditions are clear. The distinctive badging means that potential users of any online content can see immediately what they are allowed to do with it. It saves time because you don’t have to find the owner and ask permission unless your use is not covered by the licence.

If you are trying to protect your own work, or looking for something you can reuse legally, then you need to understand what the different licences mean. It won’t take you long to recognise the symbols when you see them online.

The best way to explore the different licences is to visit the Creative Commons website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

You can also download this Creative Commons licences and contexts document. This explains each licence and shows how they might apply to Manuela, John and Michael.

Activity 7 Choosing a Creative Commons (CC) licence

Timing: 20 minutes

You should now have a good idea about how CC licences work. The best way to illustrate how these work in practice is to try to set one up for yourself.

Imagine that you have taken some wildlife photographs. You’re so proud of the results that you would like to share them online. You’d like to allow people to use them for free, but you don’t want them to be modified in any way. You also want them to acknowledge you as the photographer. You don’t want your photos to be used commercially.

Go to the Creative Commons Choose a Licence page. Work through each of the steps and generate a licence. Make a note of the licence you were advised to use in the box below.

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Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


The correct licence in this case would be Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs (CC-BY-NC-ND).

You might want to try some other scenarios that are more relevant to you.