As an open-access journal, this journal applies Creative Commons policy
What is Creative Commons and what do you do?
Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Our legal tools help those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms; those who want to make creative uses of works; and those who want to benefit from this symbiosis. Our vision is to help others realize the full potential of the internet. CC has affiliates all over the world who help ensure our licenses work internationally and who raise awareness of our work.
Although Creative Commons is best known for its licenses, our work extends beyond just providing copyright licenses. CC offers other legal and technical tools that also facilitate sharing and discovery of creative works, such as CC0, a public domain dedication for rights holders who wish to put their work into the public domain before the expiration of copyright, and the Public Domain Mark, a tool for marking a work that is in the worldwide public domain. Creative Commons licenses and tools were designed specifically to work with the web, which makes content that is offered under their terms easy to search for, discover, and use.
For more information about CC, our main website contains in-depth information about the organization, its staff and board of directors, its history, and its supporters. You can also read CC case studies to learn about some of the inspiring ways CC licenses and tools have been used to share works and support innovative business models. You can find regularly updated information about CC by visiting the blog.
Is Creative Commons against copyright?
Absolutely not. CC has responded to claims to the contrary. CC licenses are copyright licenses and depend on the existence of copyright to work. CC licenses are legal tools that creators and other rights holders can use to offer certain usage rights to the public while reserving other rights. Those who want to make their work available to the public for limited kinds of uses while preserving their copyright may want to consider using CC licenses. Others who want to reserve all of their rights under copyright law should not use CC licenses.
That said, Creative Commons recognizes the need for change in copyright law, and many members of the Creative Commons community are active participants in the copyright reform movement. For more information, see our statement in support of copyright reform.
What does “Some Rights Reserved” mean?
Copyright grants to creators a bundle of exclusive rights over their creative works, which generally include, at a minimum, the right to reproduce, distribute, display, and make adaptations. The phrase “All Rights Reserved” is often used by owners to indicate that they reserve all of the rights granted to them under the law. When copyright expires, the work enters the public domain, and the rights holder can no longer stop others from engaging in those activities under copyright, with the exception of moral rights reserved to creators in some jurisdictions. Creative Commons licenses offer creators a spectrum of choices between retaining all rights and relinquishing all rights (public domain), an approach we call “Some Rights Reserved.”
Can Creative Commons give legal advice about its licenses or other tools, or help with CC license enforcement?
No. Creative Commons is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice or legal services. CC is similar to a self-help service that offers free, form-based legal documents for others to use. This FAQ answers many of the most common questions. There is also specialized information available on the following pages:
- Marking practices for creators
- Marking practices for reusers
- Data FAQ
- Differences between CC license versions
- Differences between jurisdiction ports of earlier license versions
- Public domain mark FAQ
- CC0 FAQ
While CC does provide this informational guidance about its licenses and other tools, this information may not apply to your particular situation, and should never be taken as legal advice.
If you’re looking for legal advice about using CC licenses and other tools, we recommend contacting the Creative Commons affiliate in your jurisdiction. CC affiliates are highly connected to the communities of copyright lawyers in their countries. We also offer a list of lawyers and organizations who have identified themselves as willing to provide information to others about CC licensing issues. However, please note that CC does not provide referral services, and does not endorse or recommend any person on that list.
Does Creative Commons collect or track material licensed under a CC license?
No, CC does not collect content or track licensed material. However, CC builds technical tools that help the public search for and use works licensed under our licenses and other legal tools, and many others have built such tools as well. CC Search is one tool developed by CC to help the public discover works offered under Creative Commons licenses on the internet via CC-aware search engines and repositories.
What do the Creative Commons buttons do?
The CC buttons are a shorthand way to convey the basic permissions associated with material offered under CC licenses. Creators and owners who apply CC licenses to their material can download and apply those buttons to communicate to users the permissions granted in advance. When the material is offered online, the buttons should usually link out to the human-readable license deeds (which, in turn, link to the license itself).