License Versions

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This page identifies some of the improvements to the Creative Commons license suite from the publication of the first licenses in December, 2002, through the current version 3.0, and highlights important similarities among the major license versions released to date.

License blog posts

The chart below presents the major license versions, their launch dates, and blog posts calling for public comment, announcing the launch of a license suite, and explaining changes to new licenses. It also includes posts referencing unfinished version 3.x (3.01, 3.5) licenses, which are not in active discussion and may or may not ever be published. Version 3.0 is most up to date Creative Commons license suite, but the 3.x license discussions address further potential upgrades and changes that may be folded into a new version 4.0 license. The License Errata page, to which you should feel free to contribute, catalogs minor bugs in the licenses like typographical errors.

License version* Release date Call for public comment Launch announcement Explanation of changes from prior version
1.0 2002 Dec 16 n/a n/a
2.0 2005 May 25
2.5 2005 June n/a
3.0 2007 Feb 23
3.01 n/a n/a
3.5 n/a n/a
  • Note that CC also released a version 2.1 suite for jurisdictions like Spain, Australia and Japan, whose localized ports of the 2.0 suite contained errors.

International license development processes

Creative Commons develops, releases and updates its public copyright licenses (and other legal tools) via an open and inclusive process of engagement with Creative Commons’ global network of attorneys and affiliates, as well as varied communities and constituents, that includes the publication of drafts, formal comment periods and transparent decision-making. This process culminates in the publication of the preferred, most up-to-date set of CC licenses for use around the world. Creative Commons released its latest version of the licenses in February 2007. Those licenses are known as the 3.0 international (also called the 3.0 “unported” and formerly referred to under version 2.0 as the “generic”) license suite.

While each set of licenses produced by CC is drafted to conform with copyright law, many of the improvements to the version 3.0 license suite brought the licenses further into line with international copyright law. However, CC still embarked on its typical process of localizing the licenses to each of the jurisdictions. Once a suite of licenses is released, Creative Commons grants permission to legal experts around the world under formal agreement to adapt (or “port”) the licenses where necessary to more fully align the text with the laws of different legal jurisdictions and translate the licenses to the local language(s). Fore more information, see In each instance, the resulting ported licenses are intended to have the same legal meaning and effect as the international (unported) licenses and the ported licenses of other jurisdictions at the same license version. Porting follows the same open and inclusive processes used to produce the international licenses: publication of drafts, comment periods, engagement with communities and constituents who use the licenses, and transparent decision-making processes. It also involves close oversight and review by CC staff.

License suite version chart

The chart below and explanations that follow detail some of the improvements and important similarities among Creative Commons license versions and ports. Some of the explanations contain links to further information on the topic.

License Suite Version 1.0 2.0 2.5 3.0
All international (unported/generic) and ported licenses
row 2, cell 1 row 2, cell 2 row 2, cell 3 row 2, cell 4 row 2, cell 5
row 3, cell 1 row 3, cell 2 row 3, cell 3 row 3, cell 4 row 3, cell 5
row 4, cell 1 row 4, cell 2 row 4, cell 3 row 4, cell 4 row 4, cell 5
row 5, cell 1 row 5, cell 2 row 5, cell 3 row 5, cell 4 row 5, cell 5
row 6, cell 1 row 6, cell 2 row 6, cell 3 row 6, cell 4 row 6, cell 5
row 7, cell 1 row 7, cell 2 row 7, cell 3 row 7, cell 4 row 7, cell 5
row 8, cell 1 row 8, cell 2 row 8, cell 3 row 8, cell 4 row 8, cell 5
row 9, cell 1 row 9, cell 2 row 9, cell 3 row 9, cell 4 row 9, cell 5
row 10, cell 1 row 10, cell 2 row 10, cell 3 row 10, cell 4 row 10, cell 5
row 11, cell 1 row 11, cell 2 row 11, cell 3 row 11, cell 4 row 11, cell 5
row 12, cell 1 row 12, cell 2 row 12, cell 3 row 12, cell 4 row 12, cell 5
row 13, cell 1 row 13, cell 2 row 13, cell 3 row 13, cell 4 row 13, cell 5
row 14, cell 1 row 14, cell 2 row 14, cell 3 row 14, cell 4 row 14, cell 5
row 15, cell 1 row 15, cell 2 row 15, cell 3 row 15, cell 4 row 15, cell 5
row 16, cell 1 row 16, cell 2 row 16, cell 3 row 16, cell 4 row 16, cell 5
row 17, cell 1 row 17, cell 2 row 17, cell 3 row 17, cell 4 row 17, cell 5

Nomenclature (for unported licenses)

Released 2007-02-23. Version 3 explains the changes.

Technical measures by licensees prohibited

Version 3.01 was discussed 2007-10, work will be folded into a future version, possibly a version 3.5, proposed 2007-12, possibly a version 4.0 over a longer time period (3.01 and 3.5 are not now in active discussion and there may never be CC licenses with those version numbers).

Attribution to author required

Attribution to others contemplated

Requests for removal of attribution contemplated

Collecting societies regimes addressed

Representations and warranties by licensor included

"No endorsement" clause included

Moral rights clause included

Adaptations (if allowed) must be marked as such

Definition of "NonCommercial" unchanged (same in all versions)

Use of licenses for copyrightable compilations of data anticipated

Compatible licenses may be used for adaptations of works originally offered under CC ShareAlike licenses

Sui generis rights in data addressed