Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that makes it easier to share, reuse, repurpose and remix creative material by providing free licenses to let creators give permission in advance for certain uses of their material.
Creative Commons licenses are legal tools that let people who own copyrights pre-approve certain uses of their works. They can be helpful for creators who want their works widely used, and they can be helpful for people who want to find things that are free to use with clear permissions. The licenses are not an alternative to copyright--they are an option for sharing works, and they rely on copyright.
There are six licenses offered by Creative Commons, listed from most open (CC BY) to least open (CC BY-NC-ND), indicating how much freedom others have in using your work. “CC” is for Creative Commons and “BY” is for attribution. A “CC BY” license has only requirement, which is to follow attribution exactly in the way the creator wants. More information about attribution is on the Best Practices for Attribution Wiki. CC BY allows use in all possible ways, even for commercial purposes. The 5 other licenses are “CC BY” plus additional requirement(s).
CC0-1.0 Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal: While technically not a license, applying CC0 to your work means dedicating it to the public domain.
Attribution (CC BY): lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA): 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. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND): allows for redistribution of the complete, unchanged work for commercial and non-commercial purposes, with credit to you.
Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC): lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially
Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA): lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND): only allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
With this license, you waive all rights and place your work in the public domain. It is comparable to the CC-0 license.
This license allows others to distribute, share, modify, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as the original work is properly attributed to you. It is comparable to the CC-BY license.
This license allows others to distribute, share, modify, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as the original work is properly attributed to you and the derivative work is licensed on the same terms as the original. It is comparable to the CC-BY-SA license.