With the version 4.0 international CC licences having recently been released, it is a good time to review what CC has achieved in the 11 years since the version 1.0 CC licences were published on 16 December 2002.

In this article published by the online journal The Conversation as part of its Explainer series, we provide a brief overview of the development of CC and the licences from the beginning through to version 4.0.  The Conversation is one of the growing number of online journals that uses CC licensing to ensure that its articles are redistributed and republished by other media outlets.  All articles published in The Conversation are CC-licensed, under the CC BY-ND licence.

This is the first in a series of articles on Creative Commons commissioned by The Conversation and draws on material in our forthcoming book on Creative Commons in Australia, to be published in early 2014.