License type

From Creative Commons
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Different organizations license their resources in different ways. Licenses, in general, tell you how you can use the material. Some types are more restrictive than others. Here, we've classified the different license types. Most organizations license their work according to one or more of these seven types:

  • Default copyright
  • One of several CC licenses
  • GNU Free Documentation License
  • Public Domain
  • Various

What is copyright?

Copyright is simply a blanket license term for any work that is not in the public domain. Public domain is "no rights reserved"; copyright is some or all rights reserved, depending on the type of copyright.

What do you mean by the license type "copyright" as opposed to the other types?

By copyright, we usually mean "all rights reserved" or fully restricted copyright--for example, under United States' law: This type of copyright only allows fair use, which delegates certain open uses of the work for certain purposes (i.e. non-commercial or educational). Some copyrighted material, however, is "all rights reserved" with certain allowances beyond fair use--these exceptions are specifically tailored for that material in extra clauses, usually in the site's legal notices. For simplicity's sake, we still regard these as falling under "copyright" because even with exceptions it is still some form of the "all rights reserved" copyright.

Additionally, we may have lumped certain other licenses (maybe even claiming to be open) under this "copyright" type due to their rare or outdated occurrence. Most licenses are incompatible with each other; therefore, we consider them as another type of restrictive copyright.

What is a CC license?

What is the GNU FDL?

What is the public domain?

As mentioned above, any work in the public domain is "no rights reserved". For more details, see our public domain page.

What do you mean by "various"?