Creative Commons

Our vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet – universal access to culture, education and research – to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity.

Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it. Licensors have a wide range of options for choosing which permissions to grant and uses to allow.

Creative Commons licenses incorporate a unique and innovative three-layer design. The first layer is the “legal code,” consisting of traditional legal tools applicable around the world. This is supplemented with a “human-readable” explanation in more user-friendly language accessible to most creators. The final layer is a “machine-readable” description that software systems, search engines and other technology can understand and use to make searching for and utilizing CC-licensed works more convenient.

Taken together, the licenses' three layers ensure that the spectrum of rights covered by our tools isn’t something only lawyers can understand. It’s something that the creators of works can understand, their users can understand, and even the Web itself can understand.
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