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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide is intended to provide SNHU faculty/staff information and support in researching open educational resources and copyright/licensing. If you have comments or suggestions for the guide, please contact Heather Blicher at h.blicher@snhu.edu.

What is Creative Commons?


Creative Commons is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to make it easier for creators to share their work and/or build upon the works of others consistent with the rules of copyright. They have created standard, easy to use and understand copyright licenses that anybody can apply to their work to allow others to share, remix, or use the work without having to contact the copyright owner to ask for permission. There are several Creative Commons licenses, each with a different level of use restrictions.

License Requirements


There are six basic Creative Commons Licenses based on four requirements of use. The following icons indicate the conditions that must be met to re-use a work:

Creative Commons Licenses
License Icon License Meaning
Attribution icon of a person in a circle

Attribution (BY): You may use the work as long as you give credit in the form the author requests, provide a link to the license, and indicate if you made any changes to the work.

ShareAlike icon of a counterclockwise arrow in a circle

ShareAlike (SA): You must distribute your derivative work under the same license as the original work.

Non-Commercial icon of a dollar sign with a slash through it in a circle

Non-Commercial (NC): You cannot use the work for commercial purposes.

NoDerivatives icon with an equals sign in a circle

NoDerivatives (ND): You cannot distribute modified versions of the work.

Adapted from Creative Commons website on License Conditions.

  • Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative or exception to copyright, they are one way for copyright owners to distribute their work within the copyright framework. 
  • CC allows creators to specify more flexible forms of copyright that allows "others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work."
  • Look for copyright information (often at the bottom of webpages). Creative Commons licensed material sometimes display clickable icons that indicate the specifics of licensing.  

See the Creative Commons website for more info on Licensing Types.