Creative Commons and Open Licenses

One of the main points of working in the Open is to make your work public so that it can be shared and used by others. This way, we all have greater opportunities for finding more content and learning from each other as we build upon that work.

Creative Commons (CC)  “helps you legally share your knowledge and creativity to build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world.  They provide free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work–on conditions of your choice.”

It is important to put a license on your domain (website) so that others can be aware of how you would like it to be used. Your site can be copyrighted with no permissions, but allowing others to share and use your work can bring you rich connections and the ability to learn cooperatively. I encourage you to read through their site and to add a CC license to your domain space where you can give permissions while ensuring that users attribute you for that work.There are several types of CC licenses with varying degrees of freedom for use.

You can probably figure out how to choose and add a CC license to your site on your own, but below is a link to a short tutorial that I created that might be helpful.

Putting a CC license on your website

Properly Attributing Photos

Adding images can be a great way to enhance your domain space.  If you have taken a photo yourself, just add ‘Photo by yourname’ as a caption to the picture and add a license of your choice. But many of us may make use of photos taken by others. The best to way find images that you know you can use without worrying about violating copyrights, is to find material with Creative Commons licenses.

Here are some instructions: (note also that Creative Commons is beta testing their CC search that allows a smoother way to just copy the correct photo attribution)

  1. Go to, click on ‘Search the Commons‘.
  2. Enter a subject name in the box, like ‘spider’.
  3. Click on Flickr or one of the other collections.
  4. Click on the image you would like to download and use.
  5. Copy the URL to the image and paste it somewhere for safekeeping.
  6. Click on the ‘some rights reserved’ text to find the license. (CC BY 2.0  for example)
  7. Then click on the download icon (down arrow with a line under it).
  8. Once downloaded you can drag the image into your media library.
  9. Once you’ve added the image to your site, select it and create a hyperlink to the image URL that you saved.
  10. Click on the photo to edit it and type in a caption that includes: Image title, by author, and the CC license. (Note- if you use the caption in the photo editor, you cannot create hyperlinks so typing a line in the post body is another method).

Example:   (Note that if you click on the image, it links to the exact place where I found it.)

Spider by Lars Hammer  [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]