About CC

Copyright is old! A lot of rules that make sense for physical materials don’t make sense for the internet. Putting something on a website might feel like sharing it openly, but it doesn’t give other people the right to distribute or reuse it. People can contact creators for permission to reuse, but it means more effort for everyone.

Enter Creative Commons. Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that maintains a set of user- and creator-friendly copyright licenses that you can attach to your work to communicate how it can be used and distributed by others.

There are many different options, but any CC license gives permission to distribute the work as long as you credit the author. This means resources that you or others create can be borrowed or even adapted to local contexts. It also means that your work gets shared and cited as widely as possible.

Share on a website, social media, at a conference, or in a repository like HARVEST with a CC license, all while following copyright law!

Share your work

  1. Make sure you have the right to distribute all parts of the item you want to share. Pay special attention to images or charts you didn't create yourself. See the USask copyright guide for help reusing images.

  2. Choose a CC license. We recommend CC-BY. It is the simplest one and ensures that you get credit without complicating the process for anyone. Creative Commons has a tool to help you decide if you want to consider other options.

  3. Get the logo and text for your license from the CC website
    We recommend using their online tool to add metadata to make it easier for others to give you credit.

Don't worry about getting this perfect: your guiding question should be "can someone who wants to credit me figure out how to do it?"

This can become second nature: nothing gets created without having a CC license. Once everyone is on board you never have to worry again about securing permissions at the last minute, or not being able to share someone’s work.

You can license almost anything you create using a CC license, but there are a few special cases to be aware of:

  • Journal article licenses are usually dictated by the journal in their publication agreement. The library can help you understand your options, see the Author Rights guide for more.
  • Theses and dissertations have their own special license by default, but it is possible (and recommended!) to use a CC license. Contact harvest@usask.ca for advice.
  • Research data can use a CC license but software should use a open source license instead. Learn more about data storage and sharing on the Research Data Management guide.

CC license examples

Here is a version of this license that you can copy and adapt for you own work:

We recommend using the CC license tool to add information about who created the work to make it easy for others to credit you. Below is an example of the CC license for this guide:

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY) 
“Creative Commons Quick Start Guide” by Emily Hopkins and Kate Langrell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License