Creative Commons licenses

Creative Commons (CC) licenses can be applied to all types of works falling under copyright (e.g. books, journal articles, internet websites, research data). CC licenses enable authors to retain their rights and at the same time share their works. Creative Commons licenses operate on a “some rights reserved” basis meaning that the copyright owner grants a reuser permission to use their work under specific conditions. In this way, the fair use boundaries are broader and clearer than the boundaries set on a “all rights reserved” basis.

The Creative Commons website ( includes detailed descriptions of all CC licenses as well as a license chooser that helps to determine which CC license to adopt. The use of CC licenses is free of charge.


Creative Commons licenses grant at least one of the four rights:

  • BY – Attribution. This license allows reusers to copy, distribute, display and perform the copyrighted work and make derivative works if an attribution is given to the creator.
  • NC – Non-commercial use. This license allows reusers to copy, distribute, display and perform the copyrighted work and make derivative works only for non-commercial purposes.
  • SA – Share Alike. The derivative work may only be distributed under a license identical to (“not more restrictive than”) the license that governs the original work.
  • ND – No Derivative Works. This license only allows reusers to copy, distribute, display and perform verbatim copies of the copyrighted work. Making derivative works is not allowed.


There are six regularly used Creative Commons licenses. Only two of them are “free”: CC-BY and CC-BY-SA. The remaining four licenses grant reusers certain rights:

  • CC BY – Creative Commons Attribution”, free license;
  • CC BY-SA – Creative Commons Attribution–Share Alike, free license;
  • CC BY-NC – Creative Commons Attribution–Non-commercial;
  • CC BY-ND – Creative Commons Attribution–No Derivatives;
  • CC BY-NC-SA – Creative Commons Attribution–Non-commercial–Share Alike;
  • CC BY-NC-ND – Creative Commons Attribution–Non-commercial–No Derivatives.



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  2. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  3. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  4. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  5. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  6. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  7. [website, accessed on 16.01.2019 r.].
  8. Otwarty dostęp do publikacji naukowych : kwestie prawne [electronic document] / Krzysztof Siewicz. – Warszawa : Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, cop. 2012.
  9. Otwarty dostęp [electronic document] / Peter Suber ; [przekł. Roman Bogacewicz, Maciej Chojnowski, Wojciech Fenrich, Joanna Kielan, Andrzej Leśniak, Krzysztof Siewicz, Michał Starczewski, Jakub Szprot]. – Warszawa : Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, cop. 2014.
  10. Otwarta nauka w Polsce 2014 [electronic document] : diagnoza / pod redakcją Jakuba Szprota ; autorzy Andrzej Leśniak, Michael Morys-Twarowski, Krzysztof Siewicz, Michał Starczewski, Lidia Stępińska-Ustasiak, Jakub Szprot. – Warszawa : Wydawnictwa ICM, 2014.
  11. Otwarta nauka: prawo autorskie i wolne licencje [electronic document] : broszura powstała w ramach szkolenia „Prawo autorskie i wolne licencje w otwartej nauce”, które odbyło się 8 i 14 grudnia 2017 roku w Warszawie / Ewa Majdecka, Katarzyna Strycharz. – Warszawa : Centrum Cyfrowe, 2018.
  12. Stępińska-Ustasiak L., Open access to research data and scientific publications. Infos. Zagadnienia społeczno-gospodarcze., 2017, 9(232), 1-4.


CC license agreement templates for download:

Creative Commons licenses