Catherine Dhanjal Creative Commons Licences - Don't Fall Foul of the Restrictions
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By Catherine Dhanjal


The Creative Commons licence is a popular tool used to share online content and has been around for over 20 years now. Clare Painter and Sophie Alexander recently looked at the various types of licence and how they can make it easier for people to share online content without worrying about breaching copyright law.


Creative Commons (CC) licences were designed to provide an easier and more flexible way for people to assert their copyright and to make it easier for people to share online content without worrying about breaching copyright law. 

However, there are several types of licence which encapsulate three "legal code" layers, so we turned to copyright compliance expert, Clare Painter, for advice.

She takes a look at the various types of licences in her article "Re-Using Content which Carries a Creative Commons Licence", and identifies what you should bear in mind when choosing to use material under the various licences. Clare is a publishing consultant who specialises in practical copyright compliance and digital licensing and also acts as copyright and permissions consultant at Oxford University Press Journals.

There are six commonly-used CC licences from the more permissive Attribution "CC BY" to the most restrictive Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives CC BY-NC-ND. FreePint Subscribers can read Clare's article to find out more about these licences and when you can use them.

Plan Your Use Carefully

CC licences can make our lives a little easier, but Clare reminds us that "this does not mean that you can avoid copyright altogether" and she lists key points to consider before using material offered under a CC licence.

CC licences can be a useful tool when you want to reuse third-party content but remember to "look carefully at who is offering the licence, which licence they have selected, and match that up against your planned reuse".  

Non-Commercial Options

If you want to learn more about the "non-commercial" clause of some of its licences, read Sophie Alexander's article "Creative Commons - What Constitutes 'Commercial' Use?" where she looks at how non-commercial restrictions can be added to three of the CC licences.

You can also find out how the CC licences fit into changing publishing models and which of the world's leading open access publishers are now using the CC-BY licence.

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