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MS - ZIS Middle School Library Resources: Creative Commons

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What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that provides alternative licenses to Copyright. Creative Commons licences allow individuals to identify how they wish their content to be attributed, reused, remixed and/or shared.

Each of the four main Creative Commons licences are described below
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit.
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for noncommercial purposes only.
Share Alike
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
No Derivatives
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
The licenses may be used in conjunction with each other, for example:

This licence means you are allowed to redistribute, both commercially and non-commercially, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

More information on the licenses can be found here. Details on how to license different types of content (multimedia and more) can be found here. The video (right) is a very clear explanation of the licences in action.

How and Where do I search for Creative Commons Licensed Content?

The most straightforward source for Creative Commons Licensed content is to use the Creative Commons search engine. This way, you can select whether you're looking for images, music or video.

Searching for Images
 Flickr Advanced Search is my favourite place to find Creative Commons images, however you must remember to select the box underneath which says 'Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content' (see below), or you will just be carrying out a regular Flickr search.


 The Noun Project  for searching for icons - perfect if you are creating an infographic or presentation.

Searching for Music

There are a number of great sites for finding creative commons music. Check out the ones below:

Searching for Video

Most video sites now have an option for users to upload their content under Creative Commons licenses. Searching through theCreative Commons Search site is still the best bet though.

Using YouTube editor you can select the CC tab to search within Creative Commons licensed content on YouTube. This is good for remixing videos.
Vimeo allows you to search for creative commons licensed videos. Choose which license you would like to find content under, then click browse. From there, click the magnifying glass to search within results.

How do I reference Creative Commons Licensed Content?

There is a lot to remember in referencing Creative Commons licensed content (which I will outline below), but the good news is it is becoming easier and easier to do so.

You need to:
  • Include the title of the work
  • Credit the creator of the work
  • Provide the URL where the work is hosted
  • Include the type of license, and a link to the license conditions*
*if relevant, any copyright notices need to remain intact too.

Many of these details can be easily sourced from the Creative Commons website, together with the location of the work in question.
There are several guides which have more detailed information on referencing Creative Commons Licensed content. Click hereand here for more information.

UWC Research Hub, "Creative Commons",

What are the Creative Commons Licenses?

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