Skip to Main Content

Copyright for Students: Creative Commons

This guide provides copyright information which is relevant to students. Please note that the information is for your guidance only – it is not legal advice.

What is Creative Commons?

Source: Avicennasis. (2013, July 29). Creative commons explained by Mayer and Bettle [Video]. YouTube, under a CC BY-SA 2.0 AU licence.

More about Creative Commons

Finding CC Material

  • Below is a sample of what is available.
  • Always check the licensing information before using.

Using Creative Commons Material

You see a photograph, cartoon, video clip, textual document or other work with a Creative Commons licence and wish to use it. What can you do? Check the relevant licence!

The simplest licence allows you to copy, distribute, display, perform, edit, remix and build upon a work for commercial or non commercial purposes, provided you attribute the creator/s.

Find out more about the different licenses.

Attributing CC Materials

The same principles apply to providing attribution across all CC licences. You should:

  • Credit the creator
  • Include the title of work
  • Provide the URL where the work is hosted (in full for print, hyperlink for online material)
  • State the type of licence it is available under and provide a link to the licence so others can find the licence terms
  • Keep intact any copyright notice associated with the work.

Do I have to attribute the work in a particular style? APA Referencing style is preferred that also includes the above required elements. Sometimes a creator may specify how they want their work to be attributed.

What is a derivative work?  If you remix the work in any way, for example, by cropping it, adjusting brightness or replacing words, you have created a 'derivative work' of the original.

How do I attribute a work I've adapted? A simple way to attribute the original work is "This work is a derivative of..." and attribute the work as you normally would. See example below.

This text is a derivative from Attributing Creative Commons Materials (n.d). factsheet by Creative Commons Australia & the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation / CC BY 2.5. AU

More information about attributing Creative Commons material can be found in the fact sheet.