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What is the Creative Commons?

Posted on February 8, 2017

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting an open and accessible internet that is enriched with free knowledge and creative resources for people around the world to use, share, and cultivate. Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved”.

Whenever you snap a photograph, record a song, publish an article, or put your original writing online, that work is automatically considered “all rights reserved” in the eyes of copyright law. In many cases, that means that other people can’t reuse or remix your work without asking for your permission first. But what if you want others to reuse your work? If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work you’ve created, consider publishing under a Creative Commons license. You decide which rights you’d like to keep, and it clearly conveys to those using your work how they’re permitted to use it without asking you in advance.

CC’s free, easy-to-use licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choosing. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.” Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. By default, copyright allows only limited reuses without your permission.

See the presentation below to learn more about Creative Commons and CC licenses. To discuss Creative Commons, Open Access or scholarly publishing issues, contact

Darren Chase (darren.chase@stonybrook.edu), Head of the Center for Scholarly Communication.

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