Types of CC Licenses

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This page originally created by Vincent F. (2020-21)

Creative Common Licenses[edit]

Whenever a material is produced, it is spontaneously safeguarded by Copyright. CopyRight explains who the material could be distributed and who could duplicate it. Since it's someone else's work, permission is always needed despite that it's on the internet. With Creative Commons Licenses (CC Licenses), permission can be given without asking as they are previously licensed to do so. CC licenses or can give rules to how you want your work to be treated but continuing to retain CopyRights. Created in 2001, the objective of the Creative Commons as a whole organization was to help “You legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world” (Bailey, J., 2018). Presently, we have seven different and commonly utilized types of CC Licenses:

  • Attribution (CC BY)
  • Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
  • Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)
  • Freeing Content Globally Without Restriction (CCO)

Whenever applying for CC licenses for your work, you are unable to revoke them. All CC licenses that have Attribution (CC) are required to credit.

Types of CC Licenses[edit]

Attribution (CC BY)[edit]

With this license, you may adapt, modify, allocate, use commercially, non-commercially, or construct upon the material in any way. The basic guideline is to credit the original creator and must bestow the URL to the master copy. Also, it is compulsory to specify if any alterations were made.

Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)[edit]

Utilizing Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) will allow you to revamp, tweak, or issue with the fundamental requirement of crediting the author and their own creation. Every modified artifact that is built from your own will convey the same license. This license is frequently used where incorporation from everyone will benefit its users. Websites such as Wikipedia uses this license as they evolve and develop from information that is given by everyone who contributes.

Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)[edit]

Similar to Attribution (CC BY), you may distribute, use commercially, non-commercially, or exhibit solely the authentic product. Users must provide attributes and a link to the original material. Furthermore, derivatives are permitted but are forbidden to be allocated.

Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)[edit]

Resembling its title, you can do whatever with the material but with the conditions of attribution and non-commercial uses. It is not necessary to transfer the same license to the derivative work.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)[edit]

Applying this license to your work authorizes users to remix, convert, or continue on your work by themselves but continue licensing with the corresponding conditions. Again, acknowledging the publisher is essential with all attribution licenses.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)[edit]

The most precarious license of the seven, anyone can distribute the material, view it at no cost, and commercial purposes are prohibited.

Freeing Content Globally Without Restriction (CCO)[edit]

The most carefree of the licenses, attribution is not necessary and anyone can use it commercially or non-commercially freely.


When encountering a Creative Commons licensed work, the publisher has given permission for viewers to edit, change, distribute, use commercially or non-commercially freely or when specified. Work that is labeled without “NoDerivs (ND)” is permitted to be edited, copied, and shared. This allows readers to plagiarize work that someone else has done. According to Dictionary.com (N.d.), plagiarism is “ the close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.” This work is legal under the CC license as you are authorized to copy but from an educational standpoint, this is theft and cheating as you are ripping off someone else’s work. For example, you may have a large number of sentences copied from another person’s essay and cited them in your references. You are benefiting from it unfairly and the work you duplicated does not observe the education standard for use of attributions. You may still acknowledge the author in your references but cheating is unacceptable especially when other students took time to do their own work. By plagiarizing, you are depriving yourselves of education and knowledge from which you could have learned through your own work. Plagiarism may lead to distrust against educational institutions if students regularly plagiarize and are given credits and diplomas for not doing their work. Plagiarism is the main ethical problem with the use of the Creative Common license.


Bailey, J. (July 24, 2018). What Is Creative Commons Anyway? Retrieved December 15, 2020 from:https://www.plagiarism.org/blog/2018/07/24/what-is-creative-commons-anyway
Creative Commons (N.d.) About The Licenses. Retrieved December 15, 2020 from https://creativecommons.org/licenses/
Creative Commons (N.d.) Breaking down the CC Licenses. Retrieved December 15, 2020 from https://creativecommons.org/get-cc-savvy/breaking-cc-licenses/
Dictionary.com (N.d.). Plagiarism. Retrieved December 15, 2020 from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/plagiarism
The MLA Style Center (N.d.). Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty. Retrieved December 15, 2020 from https://style.mla.org/plagiarism-and-academic-dishonesty/