This Is How to use Creative Commons and Royalty Free Content in Education

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Creative Commons (CC), in short, is an organization that provides licenses to use creative work, free of
charge under a certain set of conditions. All CC licenses allow work to be used for education, meaning
that educators and students can distribute CC work without getting permission from the original creator.
Types of works covered by CC include books, educational resources, games, images, photos, free sound
, among many others.

Photo by Susan Q Yin on Unsplash

This article will not get into the fine detail of the various CC licenses which exist, for that, please check
out Khan Academy’s guide. But for a quick overview:
  • Attribution (BY) you can copy, modify, and redistribute the works for commercial and non-
  • commercial purposes, and licensable to others.
  • Attribution – Noncommercial (BY-NC), same as BY but cannot be used for commercial gain.
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike (BY -SA), same as BY but can only be licensed to others
  • by the same terms as the original work.
  • Attribution-No Derivative Works (BY-ND), same as BY but cannot be modified or adapted.
These license clauses can be combined in several combinations (BY-NC-SA, BY-NC-ND) but it should be
noted that attribution is always required. This attribution credits the creator; provides the title; provides
the URL where the work is hosted; indicates the type of license it is available under and provides a link
to the license (so others can find out the license terms); and keeps any copyright notice associated with
the work.

What is Royalty Free Content?
Royalty free content has two distinct differences from CC licenses. The first is that attribution is not
generally required on royalty-free works. Secondly, there is a cost associated with using royalty free
content which is paid once and then the work can be reused again and again over time.

The number of times the works can be used depends on the license type, or which there are three:
  • Editorial-use only: used generally for articles and printworks with a limited number of uses of
  • the work
  • Commercial use: the work can be used commercially within limits specified in a contract
  • agreement.
  • Extended use: the work can be distributed without limits, but the original work cannot be sold.
When to use which?
The decision of whether to use CC works or royalty free content is specific to every case. If you are on a
tight budget, then that might preclude the subscription payments required for royalty free content as
the costs of some pieces can be prohibitive.

Ultimately, you need to consider the purpose of the content and in what context you are using it and
weigh the license terms against the use you are putting the content to.

Check out OER Commons for some great educational resources, free of charge!

Please note that this is a sponsored post.