What is Creative Commons? Types of Creative Commons licenses. What is copyright? Which works are allowed to use for commercial purpose? Are you safe if you use content published under a Creative Commons license? How to apply YouTube partner program?

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Creative Commons on Youtube


If you plan to use on your monetized YouTube channel somebody else's music or video, you must be sure, that the author of the creative work allows others to use it for commercial purposes. The most convenient way to find the appropriate content - is to use Creative Commons licences.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses known as Creative Commons licenses free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright, but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, profiting both copyright owners and licensees.

Creative Commons licences

Every license helps creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts (because they are built on copyright). These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used.

Six main Creative Commons licences are listed below. It is listed starting from the most useful type of license and finishing by the license with the most restrictions.

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

Attribution Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

Attribution No Derivatives
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Attribution Non-Commercial
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms

Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Are you safe if you use content published under a Creative Commons license?

Definitely not. What if a musical performer with no knowledge of copyright laws uploads under a Creative Commons license an instrumental version of a copyrighted song. The music composition is protected by the copyright, so if you use the recording you will find yourself in trouble with the song publisher.

Creative Commons license is irreversible, nevertheless quite often creators remove it. YouTube, like many other media companies, allows uploaders to change the type of license for the content. We would recommend you to make appropriate recordings (URL, download date, screenshot of the license information) each time you use content that is published under the Creative Commons license. Thus, if composer changes the type of license and you will be asked you to pay for the use of copyrighted music, you would have the proof that initially music was published under the Creative Commons license.

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