Creative Commons

Created: March 2017

Last Updated: April 2020

This learning experience is part of a playlist — two or more learning experiences focused on specific areas of the digital world. You can find this playlist, Sharing Your Work Online — What License to Use?, here. This particular learning experience is the fourth in a sequence of six. Learning experiences in a playlist build off of each other, but they were designed so that they can also be completed on their own! 

Estimated time:

30 minutes

  • [10 minutes] Activity
  • [20 minutes] Challenge
Group or individual activity:Individual
Ages:13-18 years old
Grades:Grades 8-12
Online / offline elements:This learning experience contains an offline activity and a challenge that requires a computer or mobile device with Internet access.

Main area: Law

Additional areas: Content Production

License:This learning experience has been created by Youth and Media and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution­ShareAlike 4.0 International license. For more information, please visit


*Please note: If you are unfamiliar with the concepts of copyright and the public domain, we recommend that you complete the “Copyright Basics” and “Entering the Public Domain” learning experiences, which are part of the same playlist: Sharing Your Work Online — What License to Use? 

Learning Goal

Understand how to use Creative Commons licenses when remixing and sharing content made by others and also when releasing content you have made yourself. 


  • Computer or mobile device with Internet access

  • [Optional] Paper

  • [Optional] Pen or pencil



If you completed the “Copyright Basics” learning experience, you explored how copyright lets creators keep certain rights. If an author has copyright over their work, individuals who use the content later may have to ask for permission. We also explored public domain, which includes all works owned by the public. 

Sometimes, creators might not care how others use their work as long as some rights are reserved. Creators have an alternative option to either full copyright or public domain. It’s called “Creative Commons” (CC).

CC licenses facilitate sharing, reusing, and transforming creative work. Imagine if Drake created a song about global warming called “Hot Earth Bling.” As he wants to raise awareness about this cause, he might not care if people ask him before they share his song, as long as he is credited. Drake could use a CC license. 

If Drake released his content in the public domain, anyone could use or modify his song without giving him credit. But if he reserved all copyright rights, others would be unable to share his song without permission, preventing “Hot Earth Bling” from reaching a wide audience. CC licenses allow creators to receive credit as others share and distribute their work. This process of giving credit is called attribution.

Explore the resources and think about your own work. Which CC license do you think is best for you? You’ll create and share a collage with the legal protections of your choice. In the learning experience “The Art of Parody,” you can learn about a fair use rule that may let you circumvent copyright protections for comedy.


With a presentation or image editor program, create a collage using at least three different CC photos from Flickr (or another website). If you’d like, you can publish the collage on a social media platform. Note the CC license you chose in the comments or, if possible, select it on the platform. If you’d prefer, you can print out CC photos instead and create a hand-made collage, similarly noting the specific license you chose. Additionally, write a paragraph describing the collage, the CC license you used, and why you selected it. In particular, make sure (and note how) the license that you used respects the CC licenses of the photos you selected. Provide citations for the sources.

Next Steps 

Excellent job finishing this challenge! We are sure that others would love to see what you learned! If possible, please share your write-up and collage (this can be the college itself, or a photo of it) with an educator, mentor, or advisor, or a family member or friend. You are also welcome to share your work with the Youth and Media team through email ( Please specify the title of the learning experience in the subject line of the email.

Individual vs. Group 
Release Date 
April, 2020