What is a CC licence?

The CC licences provide a simple standardised way for individual creators, companies and institutions to share their work with others on flexible terms without infringing copyright. The licences allow users to reuse, remix and share the content legally.

Offering your work under a Creative Commons licence does not mean giving up your copyright. It means permitting users to make use of your material in various ways, but only on certain conditions.

Licence terms:  baseline permissions and core conditions

The CC licences set out the uses that may lawfully be made of the copyright material and specifies the conditions which must be complied with when it is used.

There are six standardised CC licences.

Each of the CC licences grants certain baseline permissions to users in advance, authorising them to use the material, provided they comply with core conditions, as well as other general terms in the licence.

The baseline permissions granted by the CC licences permit the material to be copied, distributed, displayed and performed.  Four of the CC licences additionally grant permission to users to use the CC-licensed material to create a Derivative Work (version 3.0 Australia licences) or Adapted Material (version 4.0 international licences), which may then be copied, distributed, displayed and performed.

The core condition that applies to all six of the CC licences is the requirement that the author of the work is attributed – the Attribution condition.

The other core conditions are:

  • NonCommercial (NC)
  • No Derivatives (ND)
  • Share Alike (SA)
CC Attribution (BY) CC Noncommercial (NC) CC No Derivative Works (ND) CC Share Alike (SA)
No Derivative Works
Share Alike
This applies to every Creative Commons work. Whenever a work is copied or redistributed under a Creative Commons licence, the original creator (and any other nominated parties) must be credited and the source linked to. Lets others copy, distribute, display and perform the work for noncommercial purposes only. Lets others distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work. They may not adapt or change the work in any way. Allows others to remix, adapt and build on the work, but only if they distribute the derivative works under the same the licence terms that govern the original work.
A licence cannot feature both the Share Alike and No Derivative Works options. The Share Alike requirement applies only to derivative works. Important information
Current and previous versions of licences

The current suite of version 4.0 international licenses were released in 2013. All previous licence versions remain actively in use, but when licensing a new work, we recommend version 4.0.