About the Creative Commons attribution builder

Why do I need an attribution builder?

When you re-use Creative Commons (CC) licenced images, text, music or video in your work, you must attribute them.

If you don’t properly comply with the licence requirements, you are infringing the copyright of the original work. Our builder will help you comply with the attribution requirement of a CC licence.

Other restrictions might apply depending on the licence type. If you are unsure about CC licence types and their restrictions, see the Creative Commons website.

How do I use the attribution builder?

To create an accurate attribution, choose which CC licence the original material is licenced under. This includes both the CC licence type (e.g. CC-BY) and the licence version number (e.g. 4.0). This information can be found by reading the CC information for the original material or following the link to the CC licence for more details.

You should include any information that is available about the original work. If some information is not available, you can leave those fields empty. For example, many CC licenced materials do not have a title, and an attribution without a title is still compliant.

The builder creates a compliant attribution you can use in electronic documents, webpages or other projects making use of the CC work.

When to use the modification or derivative fields?

The modification and derivative fields of the attribution builder will only be relevant to a small number of cases:

  • Use the modifications field if you have made any changes to the CC licenced material, like cropping, resizing or recolouring. If you need to make modifications to material with a NoDerivatives licence (BY-ND or BY-NC-ND), see the Creative Commons website.
  • Use the derivative field when the CC licenced material is a derivative of another work. You will know it is a derivative of another work if the original material is marked with this information.

Variations in attribution

You may need to consider variations in attribution in some circumstances. Several possible scenarios are listed below. If you still have doubts, refer to the Creative Commons wiki or the Copyright Office.

The CC licence information for the original work is not clear or incomplete.

If the Creative Commons licenced material is missing information, your attribution will still be compliant if you leave these out. Sometimes the licence type is not fully specified or apparent. If the Creative Commons statement is hyperlinked to a specific Creative Commons licence, use the details of that licence. If the Creative Commons version is missing, you should choose the most recent version (4.0)

The work contains additional specific copyright restrictions in addition to the CC licence.

It is normal for a Creative Commons licenced work to also be described as “some rights reserved”. To resolve any additional restrictions, refer to the Creative Commons wiki or the Copyright Office.

The work is public domain or CC0. Can I use this attribution generator?

Yes, though attribution in these cases isn’t always necessary.

Hyperlinks aren’t available for your project.

The builder gives you an attribution with hyperlinks for use in digital projects. Sometimes it won’t make sense to use hyperlinks in your project because they won’t work, such as in a film projects, printed documents and artworks. In this case you will need to replace hyperlinks with text URLs, typically in parentheses.

The attribution generated is too long for your project.

If your attribution is too long for the space available, consider if there is a better space available. If this is not possible, Creative Commons attributions are permitted to omit details if reasonable. The Creative Commons licence and the author details are usually more important than other fields, so these fields should always be included.

Additional resources