What is a creative commons license?

If an author wishes to share his work outside of what is defined by default in the Law of Intellectual Property (11.723), it can be done, for example, by incorporating a Creative Commons license. This does not mean that the product has no copyright, but instead its reutilization is permitted to others under a series of conditions. These conditions depend on the license chosen by the author.

Choosing a license can be summarized with the following two parts: a) If we want to allow our work to be used for commercial ends or not and b) if we want to allow derivative works or not, in which case we can choose that the derived works are attributed under the same license.

Creative Commons offers six different licenses, which the author of a work can freely choose, that set up the way that his work can be reused by third parties:

Attribution (by): Any type of reworking or reusing of the work is allowed, including for commercial ends, like the creation of derivative works, the distribution of which is also allowed without restriction.
Attribution – Noncommercial (by-nc): The generation of derivative works is allowed as long as they are not used commercially. The original work also cannot be used commercially.
Attribution – Noncommercial – ShareAlike (by-nc-sa): No commercial use of the original work or its derivatives is allowed, the distribution of which must be done with an identical license as that of the original work.
Attribution – Noncommercial – NoDerivatives (by-nc-nd): No commercial use of the work is allowed, nor is the generation of derivative works.
Attribution – ShareAlike (by-sa): Commercial use of the work and possible derivatives is allowed, the distribution of said derivatives must be done with a license identical to the one which regulates the original work.
Attribution – NoDerivatives (by-nd): Commercial use is allowed of the original work, but no derivative works can be created.

To guarantee that the scope of the rights given was not just a legal concept only understood by lawyers, Creative Commons designed their licenses with three types of reading levels in mind:

  • Legal Code: Complete licensing text, in legal terms.
  • Commons Deed: The user-friendly version of the license, that synthetizes and expresses some of is more important terms and conditions using a combination of icons.
  • Digital Code: Code which, under a standard method, makes it easier for software systems, search engines, and other applications to perform a mechanical reading and identify the actual work and its terms of distribution.

Altogether, these three layers of licenses allow the author, the users, and even the web itself to understand and interpret them. In short, licensing a work with Creative Commons doesn’t mean that it does not have rights, but that those rights have been licensed by their author in the concrete terms of the specific licenses so that other can also use it.

This entry is also available in: Spanish