Web Integration/HowTo

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The goal of this HowTo is to provide a basic step-by-step guide to the technical concerns when incorporating CC license metadata functionality into your web application. This guide has been generalized from various plans for video, audio, or image sharing sites.

Below are 5 areas where integration can occur in your web application. While each web application may not need each of the 5 integrations, Creative Commons recommends that as many as practical are implemented.

License Choice on file upload

Users should be able to choose which license they want for each file they upload.

This will allow users to make fine-grain decisions about their works (so that some are CC and some are still All Rights Reserved)

Tools to use:
LicenseChooser.js or Web Services
Best Practices Example: SoundCloud

SoundCloud's license chooser on upload is a good way to let users choose a CC license.

Default License choice in account settings

In account settings, users should be able to specify a default license for their content they create on the site.

This can be combined with License Choice on File Upload to allow users to have the default license be, for example, CC:BY and in special cases some others be CC:BY-SA, or even All Rights Reserved.

Tools to use:
LicenseChooser.js or Web Services
Best Practices Example: Flickr

Flickr's account settings provide a default license for users to apply to all of their uploaded works.

Include license RDFa on content pages

Including RDFa code signals to machines (search engines, browsers, etc) exactly how a specific work is licensed.

This allows works to be scraped by search engines and other automatic content discovery services with associated license metadata.

Tools to use:
RDFa and ccREL
Best Practices Example: Thingiverse

Read more about how CC uses RDFa and ccREL to signal to machines that a work is CC licensed.

Include copyable attribution language with RDFa

This is similar to practice to video embed code from services such as YouTUBE. However, this HTML is for bloggers and other republishers easily attribute a work fully and correctly.

Tools to use:
Web Services, RDFa, and ccREL
Best Practices Example: CC license deeds

CC license deeds will automatically generate Attribution HTML if the referring page contains relevant RDFa.

License aware user interfaces

Utilize all of the license metadata to provide new and interesting interfaces to view content based on the license data.

Tools to use:
RDFa, and ccREL
Best Practices Example: Flickr
Flickr's CC portal represents a good way to break down CC content for end users.


We have a long list of Content Directories which are basically sites, projects and people who have implemented CC licensing and/or have some type of CC licensing. This is the best list of high level CC license adopters, all generated from the community. NOTE: CC does not have a database of content or keep a defacto list of all those who use CC licenses. The list above is used to provide examples.


If you are hoping to adopt this, please contact Fred Benenson (fred [at] creativecommons.org) and/or http://creativecommons.org/contact

See also

Back to Web Integration
Desktop Integration