Basic features of all Creative Commons licenses

On this page of the Citizen's Guide to Creative Commons, we'll go over the most basic features shared by all Creative Commons licenses, and cover the responsibilities and privileges given to those using CC licensed work.  To begin with, all Creative Commons licenses have some important features in common.

Every license will:

  • Help you retain your copyright, and;
  • Allow the public to use your work in some regard, provided they comply with the conditions of the license.

Every license Requires licensees:

  • to get your permission to do any of the things you choose to restrict — e.g., make a commercial use, create a derivative work;
  • to remove attribution at the original authors request; -  e.g., if someone makes a legally authorized derivative of your work that you don’t like, you can ask them to remove your name from the attribution,
  • to keep any copyright notices intact on all copies of your work;
  • to link to the license used for the work;
  • not to alter the terms of the license, and;
  • not to use technology to restrict others lawful uses of the work.

Every license Allows Licensees, (provided they live up to your conditions):

  • to copy the work
  • to distribute it
  • to display or perform it publicly
  • to make digital public performances of it (e.g., webcasting)
  • to shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy

Every license:

  • applies worldwide
  • lasts for the duration of the work’s copyright, and;
  • is not revocable.


Now that we've covered some of the most basic features of CC licenses, let's move into the meat and potatoes! Click through to continue on our Citizen's Guide to Creative Commons, where we'll go over the intricacies of each CC license, and walk you through what exactly you can require in your Creative Commons License!


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