Learner Description: This page was created for students in a community college digital design class who are creating multimedia content for the Web. Students should be able to correctly identify and apply the different types of Creative Commons licensing to their original work as well as the content they find and use from the Web.

Why Should You Care About Copyright?

Copyright was created long before the Internet and it can make it hard to legally perform those things we take for granted on the Web today. By default, copyright requires that before you can copy, paste, edit, remix, reuse and share content on the Web or social networking sites, you need to have explicit permission, granted in advance, from the person who owns the copyright to the content.

As a professional designer, you need to know your options for protecting your original work and its use as well as how to respect the rights of your fellow designers, photographers and artists. Creative Commons licensing was created to provide creative folks like you a way to maximize digital creativity and still allow for sharing of artistic and creative works. It attempts to balance the realities of access to content via the Internet with the "all rights reserved" realities of copyright laws. It is becoming a popular way for digital artists to secure reasonable copyrights to their work while still allowing others to share, remix and reuse the content.

The Prezi presentation in the upper right contains a quick introductory video about Creative Commons and copyright. Watch it directly on this web page or use the link below (opens a new web page) to view the presentation on my Prezi.com channel.

Creative Commons Essentials at Prezi.com


A Scavenger Hunt Game at www.creativecommons.org

The following questions will help you learn about the basics of Creative Commons licenses. The website you will be "hunting" on is the main website for the Creative Commons organization located at http://www.creativecommons.org. (opens a new web page)

Download a Questions Worksheet here to complete and submit the scavenger hunt assignment. When you are finished, you can check your answers using the Answer Key here.

  • When was Creative Commons founded and what is its mission?
  • Name three resources on the Web that provide a search feature to help users find Creative Commons content.
  • What are the three layers of a Creative Commons license?
  • Please describe three different types of Creative Commons licenses that are offered according to the Creative Commons website.
  • True or False: The Attribution license lets others distribute, remix, tweak and build on your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. 
  • In 2008 the rock band Nine Inch Nails released a collection of 36 instrumental tracks under a CC license. What type of license was it and what does it allow users to do with the music tracks?
  • Creative Commons has a Public Domain Tool. How can authors, copyright owners and content creators use this tool?
  • Which Creative Commons license does the symbol below represent and what is allowed under this license option?

Creative Commons license symbol

  • Identify three organizations or companies that regularly use Creative Commons licenses.

  • You find the perfect image for your PowerPoint presentation using Google image search.  You see that the image is licensed under a Creative Commons license and marked with the symbol below:
    Creative Commons license symbol

Can you change some things about the image in PhotoShop to create a new image as long as you give credit to the original photographer? Why or why not?

What does "SA" require you to do with any content you subsequently create using this image?