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).
- 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.
The Library has created a Creative Commons attribution builder, which helps you comply with the requirements of a Creative Commons licence.
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.
Where to place the attribution
|Books, journals, magazines, reports|
|Photos and images|
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.
Open Attribute browser add-on
The Open Attribute browser add-on creates attributions for Creative Commons licensed content.
- On webpages with Creative Commons licensed content (e.g. a Flickr photo), the tool can generate the attribution in plain text or HTML
- Copy and paste the attribution into your document when you reuse CC licensed content
Creative Commons licence buttons
You can use Creative Commons licence buttons to indicate the type of licence the work is available under.
More information on correctly attributing Creative Commons licensed work is available from:
- the Creative Commons wiki
- Creative Commons Australia's Attributing Creative Commons Materials handout
- Molly Kleinman's blog post CC HowTo #1: How to Attribute a Creative Commons licensed work.