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What is a Creative Commons Licence?

What is a Creative Commons Licence?

Creative commons licences are an essential component of copyright law. But what does a creative common licence actually allow?

28th November 2019
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Creative commons licences have become a game changer within the intellectual property sphere. The introduction of creative commons licences have allowed authors of creative works to give permission for the general public to reuse their work. Similar to how trademark licences work, these give the public greater access and have become a popular alternative to publishing works. So how can a creative commons licence be used? This article explores what a creative commons licence is and its advantages.

What is a Creative Commons Licence? 

A creative commons licence is a standardised way of sharing work where the author grants permission to the public to republish creative products. This is subject to the type of licence that the author chooses. Under a creative commons licence, the public is free to share the material across all formats. However, in each republication of the material, the original author must be given credit and are notified if changes were made. 

Types of Creative Commons Licence 

Here are 6 types of creative commons licences available to authors, which include:


Attribution enables the public to distribute, remix, tweak and build on the material with the responsibility of crediting the author. For example, you create a new platform which can be used as an application on smartphones. Through the use of an attribution means another individual will be able to use the same software with its established features and build upon the work as long as they are crediting the original author.

Attribution ShareAlike 

Similar to copyleft, this licence will mean that individuals are able to distribute and change the creative work providing they credit the original author and licence their creations. Further, this will also mean that any work built upon the original will be used commercially. 

Attribution- No Derivative

Through this method, others may be able to reuse your work in its original form. Once transformed or built upon, the work cannot be shared to the general public. This licence also includes that you give full credit to the original author. 

Attribution-Non Commercial 

With this licence, your work must be for non-commercial purposes and you must give credit to the original creator.

Attribution-Non Commercial – ShareAlike 

The most important takeaway from this option is that your work will be completely non-commercial and you must credit the original author. 

Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivative

Under this restricted licence, individuals are not able to change the original work for any purpose or format. However, they are able to obtain the original material and share with others. 

Therefore, it is important that the correct and appropriate means of creative commons licence is carefully selected. The protection of intellectual property is imperative to creativity. 

Advantages of using a Creative Commons Licence 

A creative commons licence means that you are able to retain credit for your work. Moreover, this licence has the ability for global copyright recognition. This means that copyright is no longer traditionally restricted to one country or state. Creative commons licenses have been designed to suit the non-lawyer population because the application and selection process is easy to follow and understand. 

Final Thoughts 

Creative commons licences allow for the retainment of originality whilst encouraging further innovation. If you want to be credited for your work and welcome opportunities for developments to your work, you should seek to apply for a creative commons licence. For further enquiries, IP Australia may be of assistance. 

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

Cecilia Tran

Cecilia is a final year law student completing her Practical Legal Training at Lawpath. She has an avid interest in intellectual property.