Marking your work with a CC license
Best Practices for Marking Content with CC Licenses: Creators
NOTE: This page is for creators and copyright owners who are looking to CC license their own work. If you are looking for the best way to mark CC-licensed work as a user, see http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Marking/Users. If you own a content-sharing site or platform that hosts works by other creators and are interested in enabling CC licensing for your users, see http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Web_Integration.
As a creator using a CC license, it is important to properly note the license you have chosen so that others know what they can and can't do with your work. No matter what the context, CC licenses should be clearly cited to enable their full potential as a legal tool.
Marking on Your Site
Our license chooser is designed to make this process simple - answer a few questions and a formatted HTML code will be generated for you:
- Insert this HTML code into your webpage so that your work is clearly marked.
- This HTML code includes RDFa, a very important aspect of marking your work so that others can find it easily.
The specifics of inserting the code depend on how you edit your website. The block of code should be inserted into the page HTML - most desktop website tools like Dreamweaver, Frontpage, or GoLive offer a "code view" that lets you see the code that makes up your page. Near the end of the page before you see </body></html>, paste the HTML code in directly.
If all of the resources you are publishing on a single website are licensed under the same CC license, it makes sense to paste the HTML code into your website’s template (e.g., in a footer or sidebar area). After saving the template, the chosen license information should appear everywhere on your site. Whether you add license information to a single page or an entire site, once live on the Internet, the license information will be displayed and the machines will be able to detect the license status automatically.
From there, here are three steps to license notice perfection:
- The full URI (link) to the license. Example: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.
- A visible notation (most commonly text) that states the license being used. Example: Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
- Optionally, the appropriate Creative Commons license button or CC icon and license property icon(s).
NOTE: Because each CC license represents a different set of permissions and restrictions, it is important to note the specific license used. Displaying only the CC icon, “Creative Commons”, or “Some Rights Reserved” is insufficient; always include the full URL.
In order for others to credit you for your work, it is preferable to provide an attribution name and URI. The license chooser provides the proper license button (if you fill in attribution fields) as well as RDFa attribution data. Alternatively, high resolution buttons and license icons are available from our logo download page.
For example, see the following screenshot of a license notification that incorporates these best practices:
If you visit David's blog, you will see this notice at the bottom of the page. The license icon links to the license deed that includes attribution information specific to David. In this case, David filled out the attribution fields in the license chooser, which provided the proper license button and formatted attribution information. He then pasted the resulting HTML code with RDFa into his webpage and included the textual notation of attribution and the specific license that you see above.
Still confused? Take a look at our visual guide. See Website/Publish for step by step visuals of copying and pasting the HTML code. This page also contains the same information for pages that host a specific type of media (audio, video, images, and text -- which includes various blogging platforms).
If your work is a derivative of another original CC-licensed work, be sure to look at our Marking for Users primer as well.
Marking Specific Media
While remaining similar in intent, marking will vary depending on the medium. The following are some helpful tips on making sure your media is marked correctly.
For offline works in general, consider publishing a web page with licensing information about your material. Doing so enables your work to be found by search engines and other web discovery tools.
Below are general examples for each medium. If a more technical explanation is your goal, please see Marking Works (technical):
Marking Specific Formats
- CC-OpenOfficeOrg Addin for OpenOffice.
- To mark a Microsoft Office word document, you can use the Microsoft Office add-ins for Office 2003/XP or Office 2007
Marking on Other Sites
One way to increase visibility and access to your work is to share it with an existing community. Many content platforms have already enabled CC licensing, making it easy for you to indicate the license along with other information, such as who to attribute. In addition, search engines like Google and Yahoo! will index your work as CC licensed if the metadata is properly attached.
Publish your work in an existing community.
Marking third-party content in your work
Marking best practices also apply for any third party content your work incorporates. If you are incorporating another person's work, then you should be sure you are allowed to incorporate that work. Third party content may be offered under the same or different terms, such as other CC licenses or "all-rights-reserved" copyright. If you are permitted to incorporate that work and it is offered under a CC license, then you should consider adhering to best practices for marking that content as a user, available at Marking/Users. We also offer additional explanation and tips on marking third-party content.
Things to note
When marking your work, remember that any restriction or modification to the original license cannot be labeled a 'Creative Commons’ license. See http://creativecommons.org/policies#license.