Creative Commons licenses give you a flexible way to share content with the strong foundation of traditional copyright law.

At their simplest, Creative Commons licenses provide a way to shift from “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved,” sharing your work under the terms you’re comfortable with. This gives you control over distribution terms, and the non-exclusivity of the licenses means you can keep all commercial rights.

Creative Commons licenses all start with an attribution, or BY condition attached. This simply means that when content is used or shared the original creator needs to be acknowledged. The BY condition can stand on its own or, more commonly, other conditions are added as well.

A non-commercial, or NC, condition can be added to prohibit commercial use. A no-derivative, or ND, condition can be added to allow sharing but not remixing/changing. Or if derivatives are allowed a share-alike, or SA condition can be added to ensure that any remixes or mash-ups are released under the same terms you originally specified.

That's it. These Creative Commons conditions provide a simple and easy way to take the headaches out of sharing digital music.

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The following uses are non-exhaustive and provide a basic look at what CC licenses can provide. They can be used in variety of creative ways not explicitly mentioned.

Viral campaigns
Pre-clear for blogs and podcasts
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This license allows folks to copy and share the work, but without altering it or using it commercially. It is ideally suited for website downloads or pre-clearing music for blogs and podcasts. It's also ideal for virally spreading media while ensuring the audio isn't changed.

Remix and video contests
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This license allows the public to use the content in non-commercial videos or remixes, or to use the content in other new works as long as they are non-commercial as well. Additionally, this specifies that they need to share any remix or new work under the same BY-NC-SA license.

BY Press-ready materials
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The BY license is the most liberal use of Creative Commons licensing, but as such it encourages the most use of content. This is ideal for short clips, press copy and bios, as the content can easily be worked into any coverage.

content licensed under a CC BY license, unless otherwise noted.

background: paint by Banksy, photo by Stew Dean
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You can reuse this image in a non-commercial work as long as you give credit.

Found on Kevin Dooley's flickr page. BY-NC flickr

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