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Creative Commons Basics for Scholars and Students: How to License Your Work

A guide for learning more about Creative Commons use, licensing, and resources for authors/creators.

How to License Your Work

Before choosing a CC license, there are a few things to consider:

  • Is the work copyrightable?  Some types of works, such as compilations of facts, cannot be copyrighted.


  • Do you have the rights?  If your work has been published elsewhere, for example, you may have signed over your copyrights to the publisher.  Also, if you have any co-authors, you can license only your contributions to the work, unless they also wish to license their parts.
    • ‚ÄčDo not submit any figures, photos, tables, or other works that have been previously copyrighted or that contain proprietary data unless you have and can supply written permission from the copyright holder to use that content. This includes: images/photos, maps and satellite images, slogans and logos and social media content.


  • CC licenses are irrevocable.  You can remove a CC license from your work if you change your mind, but if someone has already made use of your work, permission to use your work can not be revoked retrospectively. 


  • Understand the terms of the license.


An easy-to use tool to help you decide which license will meet your need is available at the Creative Commons website. By answering a few questions about your intentions for your work, the License Chooser suggests an appropriate license.


(Note:  Filling out the optional "Attribution" section will ensure that anyone who makes use of your work will understand how you want the attribution to appear).

[Based on: Dingley, Brenda. UMKC University Libraries ]


Choose Your Own CC License

This tool allows you to create your own embeddable license image like the ones you see on the page here.  By entering additional information like your name, the name of the work, and a source URL, you can help others properly attribute your work to its original author - You!

About this LibGuide

Creative Commons License
LaGuardia Community College Library Guides are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This LibGuide was based on one created by Michigan Publishing. University of Michigan, 07 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <>

MLA Citation: "Creative Commons for Scholars and Students." LaGuardia Community College Library Research Guides. LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. Last Date Updated. Web. Date Accessed.

For any questions: contact Ann Matsuuchi, LaGuardia Community College Library

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