Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a licensing system that allows creators to specify what the public can do with their work. Using Creative Commons licensed work is great because the creator gives you permission to use their work under the terms of the licence without needing to seek permission.

Finding a Creative Commons licence that suits your needs is important to ensure you don't breach copyright. All Creative Commons licenses (except for Public Domain licences) require attribution, but what you can do with the work depending on the license.

Find Creative Commons works

Creative Commons Search allows you to filter your search to:

  • license types
  • items for commercial purposes
  • items which can be modified and adapted.

Attribute Creative Commons works

All Creative Commons licences require that you attribute the creator of the work.

Attributing a Creative Commons licensed work is similar to citing other works but you should also:

  • state which Creative Commons licence it is available under
  • link to the licence

Information to include

If the creator specifies how to attribute their material, follow their instructions.

Generally, you should include:

  • title of the work and a link to the original work
  • creator's name and where available a link to the creator's profile page
  • type of licence the work is available under and a link to the licence
  • copyright notice (if any)
  • changes made to the source work (if any- not all Creative Commons licences allow this).

Attribution format

  • You can vary the format depending on the type of content you are re-using and the medium in which you are re-using it.
    E.g. If re-using online you can hyperlink the title of the work to the original work but if re-using in print you have to put the URL of the original work as text.
  • You can adapt the format to match the referencing style of your discipline, e.g. Vancouver or APA.
  • You can use the Creative Commons licence buttons to indicate the type of licence the work is available under.

Attribution builder

The Library has created a Creative Commons attribution builder, which helps you comply with the requirements of a Creative Commons licence.

Example attributions

See example Creative Commons attributions for use online and in print.

Placing the attribution

Different media may have different requirements on where to place attributions.

Format
Where to place the attribution
Books, journals, magazines, reports
  • next to the Creative Commons licensed work, or
  • as a footer along the bottom of the page in which the work appears on, or
  • in the back of the publication include a list of all of the Creative Commons licensed works in the order in which they appear in the publication
Photos and images
  • next to the photograph, or
  • close by (e.g. on the edge or bottom of the page)
Slideshows
  • next to the Creative Commons work, or
  • as a footer along the bottom of the slide that the work appears on, or
  • include a credits slide at the end of the show that lists all the materials used and their attribution details
Film
  • with the work when it appears on screen during the film, or
  • in the credits, just as you would see with music in a commercial film
Podcasts
  • Mention the name of the artist and that it is under a CC licence during the podcast, like a radio announcement, and provide full attribution on your website, next to where the podcast is available.

Table adapted from table in Attributing Creative Commons Materials by ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation in partnership with Creative Commons Australia, available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia licence.

Additional resources