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Copyright | OER: Creative Commons

How to Add a CC License

This block contains content from Marking your work with a CC license licensed under CC BY 4.0

First use the CC License Chooser to determine what license is right for you.

For webpages & blogs, copy and paste the HTML code from the license chooser into your webpage or website.

For CC enabled platforms, select your CC license when inputting metadata about your resource.

For documents that are meant to be shared offline, use a title and/or copyright page to include the copyright notice and CC license information. For example: 

[Title] by [Your Name] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit 

There is also an add-in from Microsoft Office that can embed CC license information in MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.  

Creative Commons Enabled Platforms

If you are looking for a platform to host your work, consider the following platforms which all provide a way for users to apply Creative Commons licenses:

What is Creative Commons?

As the copyright holder, anyone who wants to use your work in certain ways must ask your permission.  You may wish to grant others rights to use your work in certain ways, without seeking permission every time.  For authors and creators who are primarily interested in the widest possible sharing and use of their work, Creative Commons licenses are a great way to let the world know what uses of a work the creator permits.  CC licenses give authors a way to indicate what may be done with their work without having to grant permission on an individual basis to every person seeking to use the work.

"Creative Commons Licenses Explained" by MaconEastLibraryProject is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The 6 Creative Commons Licenses


This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.


This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.


This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.


This block is contains content from from Best Practices For Attribution licensed under CC BY 4.0

The best citation to a CC licensed work includes 4 things:

  • title of the work
  • author of the work
  • link to the original source of the work
  • link to the kind of license attached to the work

Not all of these pieces of information are always available.  Some works may not be titled, while others may not reside online, and therefore cannot be linked to.  Include as many pieces as you have available.

If you modify a CC work, you should indicate this in the attribution.

Attribution Example

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Other Considerations

Regarding modifications: Don't forget to note if you modified the work yourself (example.) If you are at the point where you are creating and licensing derivative works (example,) see Marking your work with a CC license.

If you remix multiple works together, make clear which license each of the works is used under, and which attribution belongs to which part of the remixed work (example.)

Public Domain License

There is a seventh Creative Commons license you can attach to your work, the CC0 license.  If you want to give up the entirety of your copyright in a work, you can use this license to do so.  Use of this license grants the public an unconditional, irrevocable, non exclusive, royalty free license to use the work for any purpose.


3 Layers of CC Licenses


Each CC license comprises 3 layers:

  1. Legal code: the language crafted by the lawyers that is the heart of the license.
  2. Human readable version: a summary of the most important terms and conditions intelligible to the lay-person
  3. Machine readable version: a summary of the important terms and conditions that software systems and search engines can process to aid in the discovery of CC licensed works.