Watch this video for a great introduction to Creative Commons:
Traditional copyright laws are an all-or-nothing proposition. Either something is in the public domain and anyone can use it freely for any purpose; or it is protected by copyright and you cannot use it without permission. This makes finding images, video, text, and other materials for use in your courses and projects difficult and time-consuming. Fair use is situational and hard to determine. There are no hard rules spelling out what constitutes fair use and what constitutes infringement.
Read about copyright law and fair use at Wikipedia
Creative Commons is a copyright license that you can assign to your work and creations that bridges the all-or-nothing gap in traditional copyright law. You can retain ownership of your work while giving others the permission to use it under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Attribution - others can copy, display, transmit or perform your copyrighted work- and perhaps make derivatives from it - but they must give you credit
- Commercial Purposes - you can decide whether your work can be used for commercial purposes or non-commercial purposes only
- No Derivatives - you can choose to let others copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of your work; they cannot make derivatives work from it
- Share Alike - if you allow derivatives, you can specify that others distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work
If you're looking for materials to use in your courses or projects and want to find things that have the Creative Commons license applied to them (so you know right away whether you can use them or not) then you can use the Creative Commons search engine which searches the web for Creative Commons licensed content.
Click Here for more Creative Commons resources