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Creative Commons and Other Open Licensing

Information about Creative Commons, open data, and open software licenses.

Elements within a Work

You can only apply a Creative Commons (CC) license to work that you own or control copyright.

  • Do you have the rights to this work? WashU's IP Policy may apply.
  • What about all of its elements (like embedded images)?
  • Were certain elements published elsewhere and rights signed away to another publisher? If the work includes rights held by others, make sure to get permission to sublicense those rights under the CC license. 

More information on how to obtain permission to sublicense rights can be found on our Obtaining Permissions page.

Alternatively, you have the option to use elements from the public domain. Public Domain Review has a guide for finding "interesting old works” online, but keep in mind that works published before 1927 are not always necessarily in the public domain: Stanford and Authors Alliance help explain why.

You might also use elements from a licensed work that permits derivatives; ask the library about the terms of our licensed resources.

Finally, you might use elements in a way that supports fair use. 

Remember after you choose a license to make sure to clearly mark or indicate in a notice which elements are covered by the license.