Creative Commons

VLIR, June 4, 2015

Gwen Franck (Creative Commons, EIFL)

"VLIR presentation" by Gwen Franck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except otherwise noted.

"All rights reserved"

Existing copyright regulation is not always adapted to the reality of research practice in 2015

  • multiple authors in different countries
  • multiple jurisdictions
  • data mining
  • crowd sourced science
  • various Open Access policies
  • Wikipedia ...
  • social media
  • translations
  • civil society
  • ...

"Some rights reserved"

Creative Commons licenses are free, easy-to-use copyright licenses providing a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.”

In a world with fair copyright laws, Creative Commons would be superfluous

CC is ...

  • 6 licenses + 2 public domain tools
  • a simplification of copyright rules
  • an organisation based on volunteer work by advocates and 'open' activists
  • aiming to grow 'the commons'
  • a patch for broken copyright
  • in favour of copyright reform

CC is not ...

  • an alternative for copyright
  • a rightsholder organisation
  • a search engine
  • a law firm
  • a bunch of crazy open access fundamentalists :)

4 building blocks


  • You are free to:

    • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

    • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material

    • for any purpose, even commercially

  • Under the following terms:

SA (ShareAlike)

  • Same conditions as CC BY, plus:
    • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

NC (Non Commercial)

  •  Same conditions as CC BY, plus:


(No Derivatives)

Two additional legal tools

Make sure the license you use allows for the re-use you want!

License chooser

Image by Aston University - licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license

How does it work?

Three layers:

  • Machine Readable
  • Human Readable
  • Legal Code

Legal Code

  • juridical basis
  • "version 4.0"
  • created by CC Legal Team + input from communities worldwide
  • available in your language
  • universally applicable

Human Readable

  • summary or 'deed'
  • this is what you link to
  • available in your language

Machine Readable

  • make it easy for "the Web" to know when a work is available under a Creative Commons license

Adding a CC license to your work

Don't forget:

Bear in mind when licensing your work:

Research does not happen in an ivory tower...

Screenshot from the game "Monument Valley" by USTWO. (c)USTWO, all rights reserved

 I didn't ask permission to use this image. But as it is clearly for educational purposes, I hope USTWO is ok with it. If not, drop me a line and I'll remove it !

Research does no longer only happen behind your university walls

All icons found on The Noun Project

And Civil Society has an

interest as well!

All icons found on The Noun Project

If you make it clear from the start what can be done with your work ...

  • access
  • attribution
  • re-use
  • modification
  • commercial use
  • ...

... others can build upon your work without fear of violating your author rights.

A Creative Commons license (or public domain tool)  is universally recognisable, juridically sound, easily applicable and leaves the user in no doubt about the intentions of the author.

"Licenses remove uncertainty by spelling out what may or may not be done with the licensed work. Science is both interdisciplinary and international, crossing disciplinary and jurisdictional boundaries, and since science builds upon existing work, it depends on being able to reuse content"


Finding CC licensed content

Citing CC licensed content

a little common sense goes a long way!

  • attribution (BY) is obligatory: name of the author and name of the work (if available)
  • link to the original source
  • mention if the work has been adapted
  • state the license under which the material is available, and link to it
  • when in doubt: contact the author

And make it easy for others to cite you ...

Incorrect citation

Photinus pyralis, a species of firefly found in the eastern United States (via wikimedia commons)

De soek of overdekte markt in Sanaa / Foto: Rod Waddington/Flickr Creative Commons

(bron: De Morgen)

It's simply sound scientific practice!

(btw, it's rather difficult to find the original creator of this meme. If it's you, please contact me so that I can correctly attribute you)

"Self portrait" [fragment] by Vincent Van Gogh, via Rijksmuseum (public domain)

(technically, you don't have to attribute when a work is in the public domain)

Some good examples

Cooper-Hewitt's Collection Database, licensed under CC0 on Github

"In order to reduce any uncertainty about the 'legitimate uses' of this dataset, Cooper-Hewitt has licensed this release under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This license is the most permissive available and allows for all types of reuse"

You can use and reuse all elements in this dataset without worrying about attribution or other restrictions, as it is in the Public Domain

This is an adaptation by Gwen Franck of

"Kitten playing with String" by Bilal Khan on Flickr (CC BY-SA)

This adaptation is available under a CC BY-SA license

Sharez ur workz pwease?

  • @g_fra
  • This presentation is aimed to educate audiences about correct attribution. Any wrongful attribution is therefore intentional - and where possible the correct attribution is either given or linked to.

"VLIR presentation" by Gwen Franck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except otherwise noted.

Creative Commons / VLIR 20150604

By gwen

Creative Commons / VLIR 20150604

Presentation at the FOSTER event "Embracing data management, bridging the gap between theory and practice" organized by VLIR

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