Using CC-Licensed Works
In this post, you’ll be learning how to use CC-licensed works to create collections and adaptations. I’ll define what a collection is and what an adaptation (and its various names) is and the difference between them. I’ll also provide examples, as well as discuss licensing considerations for both creations.
What is a collection?
Though a collection can be difficult to discern at time, and that’s not even considering that different countries may 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 still easily identify each individual pieces. And most importantly, they haven’t been altered or adapted (more about adaptation later) in any way. An anthology is an example of a collection. Another example of a collection is CC TV Dinner by Nate Angell.
Each piece of work must have the correct attribution, and the more detail you can provide, the better. As a general rule, if you provide the title, author, source and license (also knowns as TASL) for the work then you are following best practice for attribution.
Here is an example of a collection. I am going to take these images below and turn them into a collection by creating a gallery and a purpose for them.
Now, I have taken those CC-licensed photos and created a gallery of close-up shots of flowers. I have also added an attribution statement which lists all of the images used to create this collection. As you can see, each flower is a separate entity that has been put together to create an album of close-up shot of flowers with a purpose, and that purpose is to recommend flowers that can boost any bouquet or flower arrangement!
Flowers to Boost Any Bouquet
Rama Kaba-Demanin CC BY-NC 4.0
Attribution Statement: “Flowers to Boost Any Bouquet” compiled by Rama Kaba-Demanin is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 and uses the following images: “Daisy” by jcnapw is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Hot Chocolate. Rose.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0, “Hydrangea” by Gardening Solutions is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0, “Lily” by Wylie-Young is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Peony Momo” by geishaboy500 is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Purple dahlia” by Big DumpTruck is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Sunflower” by Vishwas Krishna is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “The tulip.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0, and “Yellow Chrysanthemum” by Mustang Joe is marked with CC0 1.0.
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 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 materials together, and not for the original materials themselves.
For example, this collection of flowers licensed CC BY-NC only applies to my actual gallery, and not for each individual flower in the gallery.
Basically, you can create a collection from any and all six types of CC licenses and then apply your own license to your collection. However, your license is only for bringing the pieces together, it doesn’t change the license of the original work. And the main 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 (which in this case, I am not!), then my flowers can include those with NC license, and in this case, I do have one image that has a non-commercial license.
You must adhere to the conditions of the license of the materials 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 own 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.
As an example, if I were to take the flowers in my collection, edit and combine them together using a photo editing software, 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. Check out CC Smoothie by Nate Angell for an example of a derivative work.
Licensing considerations for adapted works
The ability to create an adaptation of CC-licensed works depend on the licenses of the original works, as well as 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 just can’t share your derivative version if you do adapt it. Similarly, you can’t remix materials that have 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.
Check out the chart below to see which materials can be remixed.
Just as with a collection, your adapter’s license (the license you select for your own creation) depends on the conditions of 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 still with the license of the original materials.
In this instance, I have turned my collection into an adapted work by creating a post card and business card for a business that specializes in dreams analysis. Because this postcard and image are now going to be used for commercial purposes, I had to excluded one of the images that contained a NC licensed from this adaptation. The hydrangea by Gardening Solutions which is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 has been removed from my remix.
Attribution statement: “Electric Visions” by Rama Kaba-Demanin is licensed under a CC BY 4.0, and is a derivative of “Daisy” by jcnapw is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Hot Chocolate. Rose.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0, “Lily” by Wylie-Young is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Peony Momo” by geishaboy500 is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Purple dahlia” by Big DumpTruck is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “Sunflower” by Vishwas Krishna is licensed under CC BY 2.0, “The tulip.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0, and “Yellow Chrysanthemum” by Mustang Joe is marked with CC0 1.0.
Tip 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 below for more information. Green boxes are licenses that you may use; yellow boxes are not recommended even though they are technically correct, and gray boxes are those that you can’t use.
This post, Using CC-Licensed Works, is by Rama Kaba-Demanin and it’s licensed under CC BY-NC.
“4.1 Choosing and Applying a CC License” https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/chapter/4-1-choosing-and-applying-a-cc-license/ by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0.
“4.2 Things to Consider after CC Licensing” https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/chapter/4-2-things-to-consider-after-cc-licensing/ by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0.
“4.3 Finding and Reusing CC-Licensed Work” https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/chapter/4-3-finding-and-reusing-cc-licensed-work/ by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0.
“4.4 Remixing CC-Licensed Work” https://certificates.creativecommons.org/cccertedu/chapter/4-4-remixing-cc-licensed-work/ by Creative Commons. CC BY 4.0.
Creative Commons. (n.d.). Frequently Asked Questions. https://creativecommons.org/faq/