Creative Commons is a legal tool that makes it easier to share digital work between creators and people looking for content.

When you create something original – like a text, an image or a video – it belongs to you unless you say someone else can use it. This is what ‘copyright’ means – your right to decide how and when your work is ‘copied’ or used. Copyright laws say that no one can use your work without first getting your permission. But that might be hard to do online, and sharing is great, right?

Creative Commons is an organisation that exists so that people who create content can easily let other people know how it may be reused or shared. The ‘Creative’ in ‘Creative Commons’ refers to creative content. ‘Commons’ means something that everyone shares. When people see something they like online, and want to share or re-use it, they can easily find out what ‘sharing rules’ the creator – also called the ‘copyright holder’ – would like them to follow if the work has a Creative Commons license.

How does RErights use Creative Commons Licenses?

RErights uses Creative Commons licenses in two ways.

  1. When you take part in RErights, we will ask you to upload content – it might be text, images or videos. If you upload any content that you did not create yourself, copyright law requires that you first get permission from the person who created it. You can do this by asking the person yourself; or if the content has a Creative Commons license, you can check the license the creator has used. It will tell you whether and how you are allowed to change and/or share their work. You will also need to ‘attribute the content’ – this means letting people know who created it.
  2. The content we will produce is available under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. This means you are able to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the new works also acknowledge the creator, are non-commercial, and licensed on the same terms.

If you are creating content

Creative Commons can help you choose the ways people are allowed to use your work. For more information on CC and how to license your work visit:

If you are using content that someone else has created

There are many ways to search for Creative Commons content (e.g. images, videos, music, text) that you can freely and legally use, remix, or share. A good place to start searching is or check out the ‘Useful Links‘ section of RErights for websites that have Creative Commons content. Each site is different and it might take some time to learn how to use the content they display. Remember, when you use Creative Commons content, check which license the copyright holder has used, and make sure you ‘attribute’ the content to the creator.

How do I attribute content?

You should attribute any Creative Commons work you use, by including the following information when you re-post or share it:

  1. The title of the content you are using
  2. The name of the original author (the person who first created it)
  3. Where you found the content (this might be as simple as the URL)
  4. Which Creative Commons license the work holds – it will be one of the six listed below.

Where do I put the attribution?

Where to put the attribution depends on the content. For text, you can write it at the end of the text. For an image, you might include it in the image description or caption. For a video you might put it in the credits at the end. For an audio piece you can say it at the end of the recording.

For some tips on how to credit the work, check out:

It is very important to respect the rights of creators, and if you are not sure of a work’s license or source, it is best not to use it.


What do the different licenses mean?

Here is a brief overview of the six standard licenses.


Attribution: you can distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as you credit the original creator.




ShareAlike: you can remix, tweak, and build upon the work even for commercial purposes, as long as you credit the creator, and license the new creations under the identical terms.




No Derivs: you can use the work for commercial and non-commercial purposes, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the creator.




Non Commercial: you can remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, and although the new works must also acknowledge the creator and be non-commercial, you don’t have to license the derivative works on the same terms.




NonCommercial-ShareAlike: you can remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as you credit the creator and license the new work under the identical terms.




NonCommercial-NoDerivs: the most restrictive license, only allowing you to download the work and share them with others as long as you credit the creator, but you can’t change the work in any way or use it commercially.



The information above was sourced from in December 2015.


Creative Commons is updated periodically, and we encourage you to visit their site for the most current information.