Author & Librarian


Assignment – Unit 4: Using CC Licenses and CC-Licensed Works

What is a collection?

Though a collection can be difficult to discern at time, without even considering that different countries my have different rules about what constitute a collection, but simply put, a collection is when we take individual separate creative works and bring them into one collective whole. It’s the act of taking different separate and independent works and putting them together to create a collective piece. Even though the separate works are together, you can easily identify each individual pieces. And most importantly, they haven’t been altered or adapted (more about adaptation later) in any way.  

Each piece of work must have the correction attribution, and the more detail you can provide the better. As a general rule, if you follow provide the title, author, source and license (also knowns as TASL) then you are following best practice for attribution.

The album of flowers below is an example of a collection. Each flower is a separate entity that has been put together to create an album of close-up shot of flowers. This is a collection of flowers that will make any flower arrangement or bouquet special!

Licensing considerations for collections

Creating a collection is not simply just about finding separate creative works and bringing them together. You have to also consider the licenses of the works you are gathering. The licensing considerations for building a collection are not as complicated as if you were remixing (more on that later) those works, but it is still worth understanding that the kind of license you can apply to your own collective work is only for bringing the independent work together, and not for the original work themselves.

For example, this collection of flowers license CC BY-NC-SA only applies to my actual album, and not for each individual flower in the album.

Basically, you can create a collection from any and all six type of CC licenses; apply your own license for the collection. But, your license is only for bringing the pieces together, it doesn’t change the license of the original work. And the only thing that governs your own license is whether or not the original content has a Non-commercial license restriction.

This means that if I wanted to sell my collection of flowers, none of the flowers I have selected can have these licenses: BY-NC, BY-NC-ND and BY-NC-SA. But if I’m not using my collection for commercial purposes, then my flowers can include those with NC license. 

You must adhere to the conditions of the license of the works you’re using to build your collection.

What is an adapted work?

Unlike a collection, which is simply a matter of compiling different independent works into one collective whole like an anthology, encyclopedia or a collection of different poems, an adapted work, (also preferred to as remixes or derivative works) is when you do something “more” with the original work(s) to a point of creating something “new” where it is copyrightable. Examples of this would be translating a poem to another language, or writing a screenplay based on a novel. However, redistributing a book into a different format or medium is not an adaptation.

Whether a work constitute an adaptation depends on the copyright law in one’s country. Since copyright law only grants the original creator the rights to remix their work, CC licensed works allow for adaptations without violating copyright law except for those works that have a no derivative license, i.e. BY-ND and BY-NC-ND.

So, if I were to take the flowers in my collection, edit and combine them together and put them in a vase and call it an arrangement, that would be an adaptation. Therefore, you can consider an arrangement or bouquet of flowers as a derivative work. Other examples of adaptations can be a collage or a remix of a song.

In this instance, I have turned my collection into an adapted work by creating a collage of flowers.

Licensing considerations for adapted works

The ability to create an adaptation of CC-licensed works depend on the licenses of the original works and also the license you want to apply to your new derivative work. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the NoDerivatives licenses do not allow adaptation of works. Although, the current 4.0 NoDerivatives does allow you to remix a work, you still can’t share your derivative version if you do adapt it. Similarly, you can’t remix a work that has NoCommerical licenses for commercial purposes.

When selecting materials for your work, you may want to work backwards by considering what license type you want to apply to your new adapted creation. This way, you can avoid selecting content that have certain conditions that are not compatible with the license you want to apply to your own work and with the other works you will be using.

Check out the chart here see to see which material can be remixed.

Just as with a collection, your adapter’s license (the license you select for your own creation) depends on which applies to the original material. This is why attribution for each work you use is important because recipients of your adapted work must comply with both your adapter’s license and the license of the original works.

Tips for creating an adaptation

Select materials that have the same license types and make your adapter’s license the same. This makes it easier for others who want to reuse your work because they can comply with both your adapter’s license and the license of the original materials you’ve used easily.

Check out the adapter’s license chart for more information.

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