Creative Commons – Protecting Our Creations

Creative Commons – Protecting Our Creations

Creative Commons is a really interesting concept in which an artist, a writer, or a creator of anything really can take out a free license that allows them to protect their work and highlight the ways in which they deem suitable for it to be shared, altered, reinvented if the person even allows this at all. This allows people who create their own work to post it online without fear of it being stolen or plagiarised.

Before Creative Commons was around Copyright law ran everything. Copyright is an automatic right (due to the Berne Convention) that a person’s work is to be identified as theirs (WIPO, 2016). Most copyright holders have licenses in which someone can pay a lot of money to reproduce copies of material be it music or extracts from a book or journal article (Hall, 2013). The licenses for the most part are only to be used by one person/company and the licensee must ask the person who holds the copyright license for their permission and then proceed to pay them for the right to use their work (Hall, 2013).

However, some copyright holders realise that there is a hassle involved in asking the licencor for permission each time they want to use the person’s work and some just would rather see their work to spread around instead of being paid for this. These are referred to as “open access” materials. This is where Creative Commons licenses come into play. The person who wants to use the other person’s work can do so without asking the person and without paying as long as they reference the source.


With a Creative Commons license the owner of the source can allow people to use their work for free but they can impose different restrictions if they so please. There are six licenses and each license is made up of a combination of these restrictions. These restrictions are;

1. Attribution (BY) – This states that you can use the work but you must refer back to the author of the work.
2. No Derivative Works (ND) – This states that you can use the work but only as it is, separations or modifications are not allowed.
3. Share Alike (SA) – If you create anything based on the work you must share your work under the same license.
4. Non-Commercial (NC) – This work or anything based on this work must not be used for commercial purposes.
(Creative Commons, 2016).

The beauty of a Creative Commons license is that you get to choose your own terms on how your work is to be shared but you also have the protection of Copyright. According to Lane (2015), “Creative Commons is actually a license that is applied to a work that is protected by copyright. It’s not separate from copyright, but instead is a way of easily sharing copyrighted work”.

Also, if someone breaks the terms of your Creative Commons license, the license for that person terminates automatically meaning that they are committing copyright infringement and you can take legal action against them in the same way you’d take action against someone who committed copyright infringement not under a Creative Commons license (Lane, 2015).

Overall, Creative Commons is a perfect way for one to protect their work if they want to spread it freely among people online and offers all the protection someone would need for their creations.


  • Creative Commons, (2016). About The Licenses. Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].
  • Hall, M. (2013). What is Creative Commons?. Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].
  • Lane, K. (2015). What’s the Difference Between Copyright and Creative Commons?. Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].
  • Porter, M. (2008). creative commons. [image] Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].
  • progressor, (2015). Creative Commons Licenses Icons. [image] Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].
  • WIPO, (2016). Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Available at: [Accessed 11 January 2016].

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