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A Flowchart For Figuring Out Which CC License You Should Use



Creative Commons is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 that, over the years, has released a set of licenses that enable creative types to share their work with others. The content creator allows others to use their work, just as long as the users follow the guidelines set forth in that particular license. It’s a “some rights reserved” system rather than an “all rights reserved system.”

In the photographic community, some aren’t fond of CC licensing while others are downright prolific about it. But if you’re looking to license some of your content in this way, this useful infographic put together by CC Australia will help you navigate the common licensing combinations.

There are four parts to a CC license, three of which you can choose to include or leave out. The initial stipulation that is always there is Attribution. This basically states the user must credit you when using your work. The three remaining stipulations that you can add to Attribution are: No Derivatives, Non-Commercial and Share Alike.

Here’s the actual PDF to walk you through picking yours:

As you can see, No Derivatives requires that the user not alter your original in any way, Non-Commercial stipulates that the image cannot be used to make money, and Share Alike requires that any resulting “remix” of the content be shared via the same licensing terms.

Share Alike and No Derivatives are never used together (if they’re not changing your content then there’s no reason to stipulate that they share a “remix” the same way) but the rest can mix and match with Attribution to create the ideal licensing situation for you.

It may seem a bit confusing at first, but it’ll make sense once you’ve gone through the flow chart a few times — compared to fair use copyright law it’s a proverbial walk in the park. Alternatively, if you’re not the infographic type, the Creative Commons website offers a “Choose a License” web app that can help you pick a license digitally. Happy licensing!

Thanks for sending in the tip, Pete!