Creative Commons


About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an international nonprofit that offers free flexible copyright management tools for creative work.
The internet and digital technologies provide us with an enormous potential to access and share knowledge. Information can be communicated in an instant across the globe, cheaply and with good quality, by even the most basic internet user. However, while the technology has the capacity, the traditional approaches to managing copyright limits the reuse of material and significantly hamper its negotiability in the digital environment.

A number of copyight experts, most notably Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard University, frustrated by the fact that technology offered so much but that negotiability of copyright material was so cumbersome, came up with the idea of the Creative Commons. Lessig’s vision was for a space in the internet world where people could share and reuse copyright material without fear of being sued – a creative commons. To create this, copyright owners would use a generic licence to give permission in advance for certain uses of their material. Rather than the ‘all rights reserved’ of traditional copyright law, Lessig aimed to create a voluntary ‘some rights reserved’ system.

Creative Commons is now a worldwide project that encourages copyright owners to allow others to share, reuse and remix their material, legally. We offer a range of licences that creators can use to manage their copyright in the online environment, each offering its own specific protections and freedoms. We have built upon the “all rights reserved” of traditional copyright to create a voluntary “some rights reserved” system.

Creative Commons are a nonprofit. All of the tools, internationally, are free.

Want to know more?

Our site has more information on Creative Commons Australia and about the Australian licences, as well as downloadable fact sheets and other resources. For information on areas of interest, see our Topic links on the right of each page.

Creative Commons’ international site has more information on:

the history and theory behind Creative Commons
the basic licence protocols and the baseline rights associated with the CC standard licences
the legal concepts, including information on the public domain, the commons, open content and intellectual property conservancies
the Licence Chooser which helps you select and apply the licence that is right for you
best examples for marking and attributing CC licences and material
things to think about before using a Creative Commons licence
CC press releases