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Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons Licensing

This guide offers ideas and resources for faculty interested in locating, adapting, or creating fully open learning materials as well as freely accessible and lower-cost textbooks and learning resources.

Creative Commons Licenses: Overview

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by thought leaders, education experts, technologists, legal scholars, investors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and other nifty folks. 

Why were Creative Commons licenses created?

  • To help anyone easily license their works to the specifications they want.
  • To make it super easy to see, based on a Creative Commons license, exactly how an item can be used.

Creative Commons licenses run the gamut from 100% latitude in what users can do with an item, to highly restrictive licenses, as shown below.

Creative Commons Infographic: Licenses Explained ...

Creative Commons licensing help chart from Foter.(CC BY-SA 3.0)


Creative Commons License Types: More Information

The licenses below and their descriptions come from the About the Licenses page of Creative Commons. Consider assigning a CC0 or CC BY license to the materials you create to assure the greatest shareability worldwide. 

Knowing what each license represents will also assist you when adopting OER since you'll know exactly how you can use the material.

License Types

From the Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Regina Gong, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

More on Creative Commons Licenses

Why Using Creative Commons Licenses is Awesome