Creative Commons: A Shared Culture

In today’s ever-changing internet-based world, it has become necessary for rules and regulations to be applied to the copyright of individuals’ creative works. This protects artists and creators from not getting credit for the work they create. However, the internet is an amazing tool that can be used for the sharing and community use of the art that individuals want to share with the world. This is where Creative Commons comes into play.

Creative Commons is a company who formulated several copyright licenses that the public can obtain easily at no charge. These copyrights allow individuals to tell viewers exactly what sorts of things that their art can be used for. This makes it easier for artists to share their work because they don’t have to personally give permission and jump through a bunch of hoops for others to use their work. The copyright licenses included in Creative Commons are Attribution, Attribution No Derivatives, Attribution Non-Commercial, Attribution Share Alike, Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike, and Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives.


A simple Attribution license means that the only requirement is that the artist be credited for his/her work. For example, the flower picture at the right can be shared in any way the user pleases (on their flower blog, in a research paper on flowers, on t-shirts for the flower club), but the user must give the photographer credit for the image. This license is a CC BY classification and is denoted by the circle with the little man in it (see in picture on the right). The photographer should include this copyright wherever they are sharing their pictures.

attribution no derivatives

This image could not be made if an Attribution No Derivatives License was applied.

A picture, drawing, composition, etc. that has the Attribution No Derivatives license (CC BY-ND) can be shared or used in anyway, but the image must stay exactly as it is. As in the case of the flower image, the user can put it on their blog, in their research paper, or on t-shirts, but only as long as they make absolutely no changes to the image.

attribution non commercial

Attribution Non-Commercial

Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC BY-NC) means that the user may not make money off of the image. For instance, if User’s flower club wanted to make a calendar and include the flower image, they can distribute the calendars to whomever they please, but they are not allowed to make money off of them.

An Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-AS) license means that, similar to the Attribution license, users must credit the artist and if they manipulate the image in anyway and put display it, they must use the same copyright license as the artist did for their original image.

The two most restrictive licenses are Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike and Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives. Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) means that the user cannot make money with the image and they must also use the CC BY-NC-SA license on the image, even if they manipulate it. The Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license (CC BY-NC-ND) means that the user cannot make money off of the image and also cannot make any changes to it.

To make your own Creative Commons license click here.

Some sites that offer Creative Commons art include and

Firefox now has a Creative Commons search engine to exclusively search for Creative Commons licensed works.

-b. hench