Chances are, you've seen a Creative Commons license. These licenses enable copyright holders to provide preemptive permission for certain uses. Instead of "All Rights Reserved," Creative Commons licenses enable creators to share work with only "Some Rights Reserved." There are four potential conditions to a Creative Commons license:
|Attribution||All CC licenses require that others who use a work in any way must give the creator credit the way they request.|
|Non-Commercial||Work cannot be used commercially unless additional permission from the creator is granted. Most educational uses will be non-commercial.|
|Share Alike||Others can copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify the work, as long as they distribute any modified work with the same license.|
|No Derivatives||Others can copy, distribute, display, and perform only original copies of the work. In order to make modifications, the creator must give additional permission.|
Here is a photo licensed under a Creative Commons license:
And this is an ideal attribution: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Because it includes:
How you attribute authors of the CC works will depend on whether you modify the content, if you create a derivative, if there are multiple sources, etc. Find out more about attribution on the CC Wiki.
While Creative Commons licenses are the most common copyright pre-approval licenses for educational content, there are other licenses available. For example, software writers often employ the GNU General Public License to enable distribution and modification without copyright restrictions. Carefully review licenses and documentation appended to potential sources.