The right license for the job


Learn to recognize factors that may affect the choice of license.

Overview

Choosing the right CC license for a work can be a deliberative and thought-provoking process, but it doesn't have to be. We describe license-choosing in more detail below, but if you want to pick one quickly, Creative Commons has a simple tool for choosing a license based on a couple questions about how you'd like people to use your work.

Creative Commons license chooser

Basically, when you're looking to share your work with others, ask yourself: do I want to allow commercial use of my work or not, and then second, do I want to allow modifications of my work or not? If you're not concerned about commercial use or controlling modifications of your work (in fact, you'd love it if people made derivative works based on yours!), then you can use the CC Attribution (CC BY) license. If you want to allow derivative works, but require that any derivatives also be made open, you can add the ShareAlike condition.

It doesn't hurt to think a bit more deeply about what uses you want to permit and even encourage. Every creator has specific interests and levels of comfort with sharing work, so it's important to take that into account when making a license choice. One person's pro could be another person's con. Different communities have varying sharing requirements, so choosing a license might need to conform with your community of interest. For example, the Free Culture community only views the Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike licenses as acceptable for a work to be "free". Creative Commons has been collecting a wide variety of examples of people in music, education, and social justice, all using CC licensing for their work.

Much as we love CC licenses, they are not appropriate for all situations. CC offers a handful of possibilities to consider before you decide on a license.

Exercise

First, decide what license you think the creator in each scenario would choose. Then go to the Creative Commons license chooser tool and answer the questions like you were the creator.

  1. You are a relatively obscure musician who wants as many people to discover your music as possible, but also wants to be able to reserve the commercial right to sell your work. Which license(s) might you choose?
  2. You are an elementary school teacher who has created a great resource on how the solar system works, and want other teachers to benefit. Which license(s) would you choose?
  3. You are an amateur photographer who has taken photos of landmarks in your area and want them to be featured in their Wikipedia articles. Which license(s) do you choose?

 

In each case, was the license chooser result the same license you chose? If not, what do you think happened that led to the discrepancy? Did you choose different licenses depending on the type of creator? If so, why? What was different?

Hint

Ready to CC license your own work? Try this other P2PU challenge: "Get a CC license. Put it on your website."

Task Discussion


  • Elizabeth said:

    #1  -   CC – BY, NC, SA

    #2  - BY

    #3 –  BY, SA

    Of course, none of this is set in stone. Each individual might choose something a little different!

    on March 14, 2014, 8:57 p.m.
  • Laura said:

    1. CC BY-NC-ND
    2. CC BY-NC-SA
    3. CC BY-SA or CC-BY-ND

    It was difficult because there are many things to consider and in all of the cases the way of think of the author is very important. Sometimes, for example in point 2, I think that the teacher wants to share his/her work and doesnt matter if the other person modified it, or sell it, or whatever; but other times I think that if she/he wants to her/he knowledge and work can reeach the most of teacher, maybe if it is sell some teachers can't get it. And is more or less the same for the pont 3.

    on March 9, 2014, 1:21 a.m.
  • Stephanie said:

    1. Attribution- No Dervis-

    2. Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share Alike 

    3. Attribution-Share Alike

    on Feb. 27, 2014, 2:18 p.m.
  • Cheryl said:

    1 CC BY NC

    2 CC BY

    3 CC BY

    on Jan. 15, 2014, 4:08 a.m.
  • Lena said:

    1. CC BY NC SA

    2. CC BY SA

    3. CC BY SA

    on Oct. 24, 2013, 3:26 p.m.
  • Sabrina said:

    1.CC BY NC SA

    2.CC BY SA

    3.CC BY SA

    on Oct. 22, 2013, 9:44 a.m.
  • joec said:

    You are a relatively obscure musician who wants as many people to discover your music as possible, but also wants to be able to reserve the commercial right to sell your work = CC BY NC SA
     

    You are an elementary school teacher who has created a great resource on how the solar system works, and want other teachers to benefit = CC BY SA
     

    You are an amateur photographer who has taken photos of landmarks in your area and want them to be featured in their Wikipedia articles = CC BY SA

    on Sept. 22, 2013, 6:10 p.m.
  • SamCoulter said:

    1: CC BY NC SA
    2: CC BY SA
    3: CC BY SA

    on Sept. 2, 2013, 3:21 p.m.
  • Sérgio Leal said:

    Exercise 1

    Exercise 2

    Exercise 3

    on Aug. 19, 2013, 6:53 p.m.

    Sérgio Leal said:

    The license chooser result the same license you chose in the 3 cases.

    on Aug. 19, 2013, 6:56 p.m. in reply to Sérgio Leal
  • Maria Teresa said:

    1.    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

    2.    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

    3.    Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA

    on Aug. 12, 2013, 5:38 p.m.

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 5:39 p.m. in reply to Maria Teresa
  • Jeannette M E Lee said:

    1. You are a relatively obscure musician who wants as many people to discover your music as possible, but also wants to be able to reserve the commercial right to sell your work. Which license(s) might you choose?   CC BY-NC-ND because you want to reserve the commerical rights to your work for yourself.
    2. You are an elementary school teacher who has created a great resource on how the solar system works, and want other teachers to benefit. Which license(s) would you choose? CC BY-NC-SA because your resource is for other teachers and not commerical use.
    3. You are an amateur photographer who has taken photos of landmarks in your area and want them to be featured in their Wikipedia articles. Which license(s) do you choose? CC BY-SA because this is the license Wikipedia uses.
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 12:22 p.m.

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 12:23 p.m. in reply to Jeannette M E Lee

    Jane Park said:

    Re 1 - interesting, would you not want remixes made of your music?

    Re 2 - But what about p2pu.org? Our default license is CC BY-SA and we're all about educators and free online courses! :)

    on Aug. 12, 2013, 9:03 p.m. in reply to Jeannette M E Lee

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 9:04 p.m. in reply to Jane Park

    Jeannette M E Lee said:

    Re 1 - I meant CC BY-NC-SA

    Re 2 - I don't know about in terms of the teacher. It depends. There are avenues for teachers to share their work without being paid and there are avenues for teachers to sell their work to other teachers. I can see educators using a range of CC licenses. If an educator soley wants to share her work with other educators, then perhaps the best license is CC BY-SA.

    on Aug. 12, 2013, 10:30 p.m. in reply to Jane Park

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 10:31 p.m. in reply to Jeannette M E Lee
  • Clare Forrest said:

    1. CC BY-ND-NC (Attribution - No Derivatives - Non-Commercial

    2. CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike) No commercial because making money from someone else's hard work in the education field is immoral. In my experience educators love finding new ideas that have worked for others and if no-one can make money out of them they will stay free (and free to use).

    3. CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution - No Derivatives - Non-Commercial)

    on Aug. 10, 2013, 5:56 a.m.

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 10, 2013, 5:57 a.m. in reply to Clare Forrest

    hardcorekancil said:

    In 3, you can't choose a NC-ND license because Wikimedia only allows free cultural works, i.e. CC-BY and CC-BY-SA. The photographer will have to choose one of these licenses for his/her work to be featured on Wikipedia.

    on Aug. 12, 2013, 7:20 a.m. in reply to Clare Forrest

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 7:20 a.m. in reply to hardcorekancil

    Jane Park said:

    RE 2 -- Interesting that you would say this. There has been a debate about the NC condition since the beginning of time, but a lot of people in the open education world firmly support CC BY or CC BY-SA for OER, as evidenced by the default license on this site (p2pu.org). You can read more about dif POVs at the Why Open? course if interested!

    on Aug. 12, 2013, 8:22 p.m. in reply to Clare Forrest

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 12, 2013, 8:22 p.m. in reply to Jane Park
  • Chris Dillon said:

    1. For the musician I'd recommend one probable and one possible (greater potential) license. The probable BY/NC/ND (Attribution/NonCommercial/NoDerivitives) with an International Jurisdiction. The possible is to exchange NoDerivitives for ShareAlike (BY/NC/SA), which allows for derivatives under the same licence - here I'm thinking of the benefit artists like Lana Del Ray gained in recognition by having "Video Games" remixed on social media sites like soundcloud.com.
    2. The teacher creating shared resources for educational purposes should choose BY/NC/SA (Attribution/NonCommercial/ShareAlike). Derivations and localisation and contextualiation are often necessities in education tools. Jurisdiction could be regionalised, however, the international democratising existance of the internet probably makes the point moot.
      [Note] In NZ under work-for-hire the copyright of any teaching resources created by, and intended to be used by the teacher rests with the School and School Board, unless by an explicite prior arrangement. [link]
    3. As someone who has had a number of my CC'd Flickr photos requested by wikis and ecological organisations I guess I'd be happy with Wikipedias default CC/BY/SA (ie. in a non-profit / educational context). Coming from a design/advertising background however I have quarms about releasing my intellectual property to potentially be re-used in commercial products without my specific permission.
    on Aug. 7, 2013, 1:54 a.m.

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 7, 2013, 1:54 a.m. in reply to Chris Dillon

    Jane Park said:

    Hey Chris - I guess I'm curious for 2 - why you chose to add on the NC condition and not just go with CC BY or CC BY-SA? Esp as teachers are creating educational materials that they often want widely shared.

    on Aug. 8, 2013, 7:27 p.m. in reply to Chris Dillon

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 8, 2013, 7:28 p.m. in reply to Jane Park
  • Ayla Stein said:

    1. Musician:

    Initially I chose CC BY NC SA. When I was using the 'Choose A License' tool, I realized that the musician could also use CC BY NC if he or she wasn't worried about derivatives of their work being commercialized but I think that CC BY NC SA makes the most sense for this situation. 

    2. I chose: CC BY SA initially. When I used the 'Choose A License' tool, I realized that the teacher could also use CC BY to allow maximum freedom. However, if they want all teachers to be able to use the resource, they may not want to allow any work that builds on her resource to be restricted so she could also use CC BY NC SA. 

    3.  I chose CC BY SA for the pictures on Wikipedia articles because that's the default license on the Wikipedia website. When I used the 'Choose A License' tool it occured to me that CC BY could also be used. I feel as an amateur photographer, it's more important to get your work out to the world and recognized rather than worry about revenue, since it's probably not going to happen anyway. 

    When to include the Non-Commercial restriction confuses me. If something is licensed as CC BY SA, does that mean that any derivative work can't be commercialized since the original work is licensed as "attribution only, share alike"? Or can works licensed as CC BY SA be commercialized by others who are not the creator?

    on Aug. 2, 2013, 5:24 p.m.

    kslattery said:

     I am out of the classroom until August 20th. Have a great summer break!
    on Aug. 2, 2013, 5:24 p.m. in reply to Ayla Stein
  • sbradley said:

    For the musician - BY NC SA

    The Teacher - BY SA

    Photographer - BY SA

    on May 27, 2013, 9:28 a.m.
  • Libofoz said:

     

    1. Attribution, Non Commercial, No Derivative

    2. Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike

    3. Attribution, Share Alike

    on May 22, 2013, 2:50 p.m.
  • Yamila said:

    For the musician:

    Licencia Creative Commons
    Este obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 3.0 Unported.

    For the teacher:

    Licencia Creative Commons
    Este obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 3.0 Unported.

    For the photographer:

    Licencia Creative Commons

    Este obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-CompartirIgual 3.0 Unported.

    on April 3, 2013, 1:26 a.m.
  • Mary Lee Newman said:

    This is a great exercise.  We had the discussion with our teenage kids on the way home from a concert of an avant garde sax player.  How would he copyright his music since he would have a vested interest is getting it heard by as many people as possible?  (Or really, was it okay to rip the CDs and give them to a bunch of jazz playing friends?)

    for the musician

    BY, NC, SA

    for the school teacher

    BY, SA

    for the photographer

    BY, SA

    on April 2, 2013, 2:47 p.m.
  • Stephanie said:

    1. The musician

    2. The teacher

    3. Wikipedia

    on March 30, 2013, 9:23 p.m.