Now that you have learned about the six different types of Creative Commons licenses (and the public domain dedication tool, CC0), how would you apply a CC license to works you create?

Considerations before you use a CC license

First, be sure you understand the terms of the licenses and CC0, including what others can do with the work once you apply one of these. Review the Creative Commons licenses section of this module.

Here are some other questions to consider.

What would happen if you decide to use a CC license and later change your mind? The original license cannot be revoked, and if someone finds the work under that license they can still use it according to those terms. Creators can remove their original works with the earlier licenses from where they posted them, and re-share with a new license, but earlier versions with the earlier license may still be accessible in some places. See “Things to Consider after CC licensing” from the CC Certificate for Educators and Librarians for more information.

What if someone uses your CC licensed work in a way you don’t approve of? The only restriction on purpose of use in Creative Commons licenses is in the”NonCommercial” licenses that restrict the use of works to non-commercial purposes. For works with any other CC license, others are allowed to use them for any purpose (though perhaps with other restrictions depending on the license, such as no adaptations allowed (ND) or that adaptations must be shared with a compatible license (SA)). All CC licenses that allow adaptation, however, require that adaptors clearly mark that the work is an adapation, and do so in a way that does not suggest the creator agrees with the changes. A creator can also ask that attribution to them be removed from someone else’s use of the work. See “Things to Consider after CC licensing” from the CC Certificate for Educators and Librarians for more information.

What happens if someone violates the terms of the license? In brief, their right to use the work ends immediately and they could be liable for copyright infringement (unless they use the work under fair dealing or another limitation or exception to copyright). In the 4.0 versions of the CC licenses, if users comply with the license within 30 days of learning they have infringed the license terms, their right to use the work under the license is automatically reinstated. See “License Enforceability” from the CC Certificate for Educators and Librarians for more information.

Choosing and applying a CC license

If you decide you do want to use a CC license, you need to choose which one based on what you would like others to be able to do with the work without asking your permission. The Creative Commons license chooser can be helpful in making this choice.

How do you apply a license or CC0 to your work? There are several ways to do so:

  • Put a notice of the CC license on the work, such as a sentence that reads, “This work is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.” You could do so, for example on the first slide of a slide deck, or in a caption on an image, or in the credits of a video. Often creators will include an image of the license button as well (see Creative Commons downloads), though this isn’t required.
  • Post the work on a platform that allows you to choose a CC license; a number of photo-sharing and video-sharing platforms allow you to choose a CC license rather than marking your work with the default “all rights reserved.”
  • If you are putting the license on a website, you can use the CC license chooser to get machine-readable html code to include on the site.

See the Creative Commons Wiki page on marking your work with a CC license for more information.

Sharing your work

Once you have created a work and applied a CC license to it, where and how should you share it with others? There are many options, including content sharing platforms that allow you to choose a CC license for your work (such as Flickr for images or YouTube for videos), or a repository such as those listed in the UBC Library Open Education Guide.

Note that sharing in one of these ways can help ensure your work is more easily findable by others, including through tools such as CC Search or the OASIS OER meta search tool, which search various repositories and sharing platforms. If you create or adapt an open textbook, consider submitting it for inclusion in the BCcampus Open Textbook Collection.

Consideration on Accessibility

Scenario – What is the consequence of not using an accessible format?

Let’s consider this scenario: Vanda has created a CC BY licensed graph that explains how supply and demand gets affected during depression. the graph became popular and it became used in various ECON courses in universities.

One day Mia, who is a visually impaired student, took an ECON course which uses the graph that was created by Vanda. Mia has hard time interpreting the graph as the graph does not have an alternative text, nor a caption that describes what the graph is about. The course uses other CC by licensed graphs that also do not have alt texts. Every time when this type of graphs are used, Mia has to contact their instructor to ask for clarification on what the graph is about.

CC license allows to easily re-use and share your work. However, what are the consequence if the works you share are not accessible? What are the things that Vanda could have done in order to make their work more accessible?

Many works with a CC license are shared in digital format, and it is important to ensure they follow accessibility guidelines so that they can be used by people with different abilities. For example, video and audio recordings should have text captions or transcripts, images should have alternative text, and documents should be organized in way that allows those using screen readers to navigate them easily. In case of the scenario above, Vanda could have provided alternative text to the graph so that students like Mia can interpret the graph. See the UBC OER Accessibility toolkit for more information.

Adapted from the Creative Commons Certificate for Educators and Librarians, 4.2 Things to Consider after CC Licensing from Creative Commons under CC by 4.0 license


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