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Wanna Work Together? -- The Creative Commons

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that has existed for more than 10 years and provides a "standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work -- on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of 'all rights reserved' to 'some rights reserved'.  Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs."

With a Creative Commons license, the user does not have to track down the copyright holder in order to use the copyrihgted material.  The user does need to use the copyrighted materials in accordance to the Creative Commons license the copyright holder has applied.  All Creative Commons license require attribution of the copyright holder.  The six most common Creative Commons licenses are:

  • CC BY (Attribution) – you can use my work, but you have to give me attribution
  • CC BY-SA (Attribution- ShareAlike) -- in addition to using my work, you have to use the same kind of Creative Commons license in your work
  • CC BY-ND (Attribution-NoDerivatives)
  • CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial)
  • CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)
  • CC BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives)

There is also a "No rights reserved" -- CC0 -- Creative Commons license, which allows the copyright holder to opt out of all copyright protection.

Use the tool provided on the Creative Commons website to define the Creative Commons license that best meets your needs.  You can also use the search tool provided at the Creative Comons website to find works that you may be albe to use without asking for permission because of their Creative Commons license.

Institutional Agreements

A license gives permission to use intellectual property; a license by itself is not a contract, but it can be part of a contract. Almost all of the electronic resources (databases, e-journals, e-books, streaming video, etc.) found in a modern library are govened by licenses.  Licenses always take precedence over copyright law. Consequently, library personnel work diligently to negotiate license agreements that do not severely restrict the use of the content by library clients, for example, ensuring the ability to use interlibrary loan (Section 108) or use content for scholarly or educational purposes (fair use).

Most often, the licensed content avaiable in the library can be used for educational or scholarly purposes, for example:

  • PDFs of articles can be downloaded and printed by people currently affiliated with Baylor University or by non-affiliates who are physically present in the Baylor Libraries (and are using the "VIsitor Internet Access" service).
  • PDFs of articles can be shared with a reasonable number colleagues from other institutions.
  • Images from resources like ARTstor can be incorporated into class presentations or used by students in their research papers or presentations.
  • Tables or charts created through the interface of data resources such as Data-Planet Statistical Datasets can be incorporated into class presentations or used by students in their research papers or presentations.
  • Segments of videos or sound recordings can be incorporated into class presentations.

However, once the usage of this licensed content leaves the educational environment, the specifications of the license agreements come into play.  For example, if a student's paper that uses images from ARTstor has been accepted for publication, under the license agreement the ARTstor images may need to be removed and comparable images from another source will need to be found. 

Also, remember that if you provide a link to a resource (instead of downloading another copy of the resource), you are not infringing on any of the rights protected by copyright.  If there's language in the license for that resource that restricts the use of links (doesn't happen often), then providing that link does violate the license agreement.

If you have questions about using any of the licensed content available from the Baylor University Libraries, contact

University Libraries

One Bear Place #97148
Waco, TX 76798-7148

(254) 710-6702