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Creative Commons Commercial Licenses

Creative Commons logo for post about Creative Commons commercial licensesThis post is about Creative Commons commercial licenses. After describing each license, it discusses when you might want to use each license.

Creative Commons provides a summary of its various licenses at About The Licenses.

Creative Commons Commercial Licenses Described

Three of the licenses permit software to be used commercially. Here is the summary of those licenses’ respective terms.


This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.


This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

When Use Is Appropriate

So, here are some thoughts about which license you might want to use when.

  • If you merely want credit for your contributions and are willing to let others do anything with your work, use CC BY.
  • On the other hand, if you want credit for your work and you want to ensure that its license terms continue in force, use CC BY-SA.
  • Finally, if you want to let others use your work without any changes, use CC BY-ND.

Check out posts about open source licenses generally.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510-547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.