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Copyright Guide: Creative Commons

About the Creative Commons

The Creative Commons has grown in popularity in recent years.  Offering different levels of licensing, the Creative Commons appeals to those who want credit and also varying levels of protection of their work.

Search the Commons

Search the Commons

Creative Commons estimates that there are over 350 million works worldwide licensed under CC licenses. There are millions of additional works in the public domain. The main Creative Commons site hosts a tool that searches Creative Commons and public domain works.


If you want a CC License...


Creative Commons licenses help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work, at least non-commercially. The CC License choser provides an easy way for creators to define the terms on which others may use their work. CHOOSE A LICENSE

Creative Commons in Action

Open Research

  Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit publisher, membership, and advocacy organization with a mission to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. Our core objectives are to: Provide ways to overcome unnecessary barriers to immediate availability, access, and use of research; Pursue a publishing strategy that optimizes the openness, quality, and integrity of the publication process; Develop innovative approaches to the assessment, organization, and reuse of ideas and data. All articles and accompanying materials published by PLOS on the PLOS Sites, unless otherwise indicated, are licensed by the respective authors of such articles for use and distribution by you subject to citation of the original source in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution License.

   Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit medical research organization. Sage Bionetworks is building Sage Commons, a public resource and information platform for scientists, research foundations, and research institutions. The purpose of the Commons will be “to share research and development of biological network models and their application to human disease and biology. It will consist of very large network datasets, tools and models organized within conventions governing user participation.” content is defaulted under CC BY. Sage Commons will enable the CC0 public domain dedication as an option for surrendering copyright in data hosted in the network.

Personal Genome Project: “a pioneer in the emerging field of personal genomics technology that works to map the human genomes and medical records of volunteers from around the world. So far, the project has released a large data set containing genomic sequences for ten individuals using CC0, with future planned releases also to be under CC0.”

GeoCommons: “Web based mapping platform GeoCommons launched its 2.0 version today with a long list of free, enterprise and API features that bring the service up to date on contemporary web technologies. GeoCommons is a community site run by GeoIQ, a private company that sells software and support to enterprise customers. Data and maps posted to GeoCommons are published under a Creative Commons license.”

  Freebase is a collaborative project that imports structured data from a variety of sources on the web, including Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and the Stanford University Library. Freebase currently contains information about 20 million topics, or entities, and its data is available for reuse under CC Attribution.