Using a CC licensed work

Before you reuse a CC Licensed work

If you’re thinking about reusing, remixing or adapting a Creative Commons licensed work, the first thing you need to do is check the original licence conditions.

These differ for each Creative Commons licence. Some licences restrict commercial reuse; others restrict remixing and tweaking; others require users to re-license their remix under the same restrictions.

Follow the link to the Commons Deed to find a ‘human-readable’ version of the licence. We also explain the licences here.

Note that a Creative Commons licence does not affect the Fair Dealing exceptions of the New Zealand Copyright Act. You do not need to comply with the restrictions of a Creative Commons licence if what you want to do with the work is covered by an exception under the Act.

How to Provide Attribution

The six main Creative Commons licences all require users to provide attribution when they show, distribute or otherwise reuse the work. A good attribution needs to provide at least four basic pieces of information, if the creator has made them available to you:

  • The title of the work
  • The author of the work
  • A link to the source, so that others can find the original work
  • The Creative Commons licence it is made available under.

You may also be required to provide additional information, such as:

  • The fact that you have changed or adapted the original work, so others do not confuse your work with the original;
  • The original copyright notice, if the licensor has provided one;
  • Any other information required by the licensor.

There is no one right way to provide attribution — just make sure your attribution is reasonable and suited to the medium you’re working with. The method you would use to provide attribution in a book, for instance, will be different from how you provide attribution on a website, a dataset, a song or a slideshow.

You do not have to include any information that you cannot locate. However, you should make a good effort to find the relevant information for the material you are planning on using.

Note that if you just state ‘Creative Commons’, you will not meet the attribution requirements of the licence, as you will have failed to name the title, the author, the source and the specific Creative Commons licence.

Creative Commons HQ provide more information about attribution,.

What if I have adapted a Creative Commons licensed work?

If you have adapted a Creative Commons licensed work, you must make it clear to others that you have done so. This ensures that others do not confuse your adaptation with the original. Use words like ‘based on’ or ‘samples have been used from’.

Remember, you are only permitted to change an original work if the licensor has not included ‘No Derivative Works (ND)’ as part of their CC licence.

If you are adapting a ‘Share-Alike’ work, then you must re-license your adaptation under the same Creative Commons licence.

If you are adapting a ‘Non-Commercial (NC)’ work, then Creative Commons recommends that you use one of the three ‘Non-Commercial’ licences for your adaptation.

CCHQ has created a handy chart which explains how you can re-license adaptations of CC-licensed works.

Finally, make sure that you don’t claim that the creator or licensor has endorsed your use or adaptation of the original work.

See Also

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