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SCC ABE OER Basics Guide: OER licenses

OER guide

For more information and resources about OER basics and resources, please visit the SCC Library's Guide to OER - https://libguides.scc.spokane.edu/oer

We also recommend this guide from Boyoung Chae, Policy Associate of eLearning and Open Education at the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) - https://start.me/p/QRDO7R/find-oer.

Common types of open licenses

What are "Creative Commons" licenses?

"Creative Commons" licenses are referred to as "CC" licenses, and they are examples of open licenses. So if someone creates OER and wants to share it with others, then they put CC licenses on their work to make it clear that they are sharing their work. 

Creative Commons-Attribution
(CC BY)

CC BY logo

  • This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

Creative Commons - Attribution - ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)

CC BY SA logo

  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

Creative Commons - Attribution - No Derivatives (CC BY-ND)

CC BY ND logo

  • This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you. This means no edits or changes to the original work.

Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial (CC BY-NC)

CC BY NC logo

  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - ShareAlike
(CC BY-NC-SA)

CC BY NC SA logo

  • This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Creative Common - Attribution - Non-Commercial - No Derivatives
(CC BY-NC-ND)

CC BY NC ND icon

  • This license is the most restrictive of the six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

What is public domain?

A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright, which means it’s free for you to use without permission.

Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. 

There is an additional CC license, called the "CC 0" (CC Zero) license that releases modern works into the public domain with a Creative Commons license.

Types of public domain licenses:

Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

CC0 public domain logo

  • Otherwise known as "No Rights Reserved"
  • This type of public domain is when creator(s) has waived their rights to the works and gifted their work to the world. Use this universal tool if you are a holder of copyright or database rights, and you wish to waive all your interests that may exist in your work worldwide. 

Public Domain

Public domain logo

  • Otherwise known as "No Known Copyright"
  • This enables works that are no longer restricted by copyright to be marked as such in a standard and simple way, making them easily discoverable and available to others. Many cultural heritage institutions including museums, libraries and other curators are knowledgeable about the copyright status of paintings, books and manuscripts, photographs and other works in their collections, many of which are old and no longer under copyright.