Licencing Your Creativity

22 December 2015

In today’s internet-powered world, creative works can be shared with a global audience with ease. If you are looking to circulate creative work via the web, you may wish to consider managing how others use that work through applying Creative Commons licences.

These licences are a useful tool for owners wanting to manage how other parties reuse their content and creations by relaxing the sometimes complex and restrictive aspects of commercial licences to varying degrees.

The licences give everyone, from individuals to multinational companies the ability to use a variety of images and artwork, videos, audio recordings, articles as well as other types of intellectual property without having to endure an often lengthy process of negotiating usage rights.

There are six Creative Commons licences that can be used to protect creative work. These are:

  1. Attribution

This is the least restrictive of the licences available. It permits other parties to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon work, even commercially, as long as the creator of the work is credited.

  1. Attribution ShareAlike

This licence adds to the Attribution licence by requiring other parties to give credit to the creator and to licence their new creation to third parties under terms and licences that are identical to the original owner’s.

  1. Attribution No Derivatives

This licence allows for the distribution of creative work, both commercially and non-commercially, so long as it remains unchanged and acknowledges the creator.

  1. Attribution NonCommercial

This licence adds to the Attribution licence by requiring that any use of the creative work is for non-commercial purposes only.

  1. Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike

This licence attaches a further condition to the Attribution NonCommerical licence by requiring other parties to licence their new creations under terms that are identical to the terms used by the original owner.

  1. Attribution NonCommercial No Derivatives

This is the most restrictive of the six licences available, and only allows the downloading and sharing of the creative work by other parties. It strictly forbids other parties from changing the work in any way or using it for commercial purposes.

If you are thinking of sharing your work with the masses, a Creative Commons licence can assist you in managing how others use your work, while at the same time enabling you to leverage the power of the internet to grow your brand.


Shelley Slade-Gully is an Associate in the Commercial Corporate team at Norris Ward McKinnon. Contact Shelley at [email protected]

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