INSTRUCTORS: Adopt an Open Textbook

7 Choosing a CC Licence

Licence terms

Creators or copyright holders who wish to apply Creative Commons licences to their work can choose to allow their work to be copied and reused with any one or more restrictions, or certain combinations of restrictions. The four restrictions are:[1]

  1. Attribution. You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  2. Non Commercial. The material cannot be used for commercial purposes.
  3. Share Alike. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same licence as the original.
  4. Non Derivative. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.

Attributing Creative Commons licences

All Creative Commons licences require that users of the work attribute the creator. When providing attribution to a CC-licensed work, you should include:

  • The author’s name, screen name, user ID, etc. If the work is being published on the Internet, it is best practice to link that name to the person’s profile page, if such a page exists.
  • The work’s title or name (if applicable), if such a thing exists. If the work is being published on the Internet, it is best practice to link the name or title directly to the original work.
  • The specific type of licence the work is available under. Linking to the licence will allow others to find the licence terms.
  • The URL where the work is hosted.
  • Mention if the work is a derivative work or adaptation. In addition to the above, one needs to identify that their work is a derivative work, i.e., “This is a Finnish translation of [original work] by [author].” or “Screenplay based on [original work] by [author].”

For a more detailed look at how to attribute CC resources, review Resources: Captions and Attributions from the Self-Publishing Guide and Creative Commons’ Best Practices for Attributing Content. This latter resource has examples of how to correctly attribute different types of CC-licensed content.

The different Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons offers six different licences that allow copyright holders to apply different restrictions to how their work may be reused. When using a specific CC-licensed work, it is important to pay attention to the CC licence and its restrictions. All Creative Commons licences require attribution. The different licences are listed on the Creative Commons website.

Creative Commons offers a tool to help you choose a licence, aptly named Choose a License. This tool helps with both licensing and proper attribution. We have included a link to a tutorial video that helps guide you through the steps of using the tool.

The below video on how to choose a Creative Commons licence starts at 57 seconds (video length is 4:55).


  • The below video on creating OER and combining licences is intended to help you choose compatible open educational resources (OER) and then a valid licence for your work (video length is 9:15).

  • The National Copyright Unit and Creative Commons Australia have jointly developed the Creative Commons Information Pack for teachers and students. The pack explains what CC is, how to find CC material, and the best way to attribute CC material.


The Creative Commons License Chooser Demo video by Sarah Morehouse is used under a CC BY licence.

The Creating OER and Combining Licenses – Full video by TheOGRepository is used under a CC BY licence.

  1. Retrieved from


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Adoption Guide - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2016-2019 by BCcampus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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