Since late 2002, Creative Commons (CC) Licenses have been the most popular form of public copyright licenses, allowing creators and artists to share their work, for free, while still retaining it as their own, copyrighted creation.
How? Users must educate themselves that all CC licenses can be mastered by understanding only four major building blocks that go into all of these licenses. All CC licenses are just different combos of the four building blocks that I will discuss below. I will then describe the CC licenses most often used, from least restrictive to most. At the end, there is a matrix of what to do if you want to mix multiple works with different CC’s attached to them.
A brief history of CC
The basic building blocks of all CC licenses are: ATTRIBUTION, SHAREALIKE, NONCOMMERCIAL AND NODERIVATIVES. Once you know these blocks, everything else will automatically fall into its place.
So, let’s examine how the above basic building blocks play out in most popular combos, starting from the least restrictive to most.
There are six licenses that are most often used, plus CC0 (public domain, total freebie). All six of these grant “baseline rights”, including the right to distribute worldwide for non-commercial use as long as no modification is made.
The last two licenses are simply combinations of the ‘basic’ licenses.
Select two works you wish to combine or remix. Find the license of the first work on the first row and the license on the first column. You can mix the two if there is a green smiley there. Use at least the most restrictive licensing of the two (use the license most to right or down state) for the new work. If there a red smiley, then you can not mix these works. This probably indicates that one of the two licenses may not used for commercial purposes, or one of the licenses does not allow for derivative works to be created.
Remix works with a NonCommercial building block
It is not possible to mix works where the first work is placed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license and the second work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. The ShareAlike building block in first license requires that the newly created work is released under that license and can therefore be used commercially, the second license wants you to release the new work under a license that does not permit commercial use.
Remix work with a NoDerivative building block
It is not possible to use in a remix where NoDerivative is a building block in processing a work. All works released under this license may only be distributed in their original form. No cropping or lower resolution works can be made available. Parts of these works cannot be utilized to create other works.