Read the description of the CC licenses, choosing a license and what to consider before using a CC license from the Creative Commons website.
Then review the material to the right. Pay special attention to the graphic, and reflect on how these licenses differ from copyright.
Creative Commons licensing is a way for the copyright holder to pre-grant permission. When a creator puts their work under creative commons licensing, they are dictating the terms that will allow their works to be used.
Works under a CC license will always have the appropriate license and logo listed, so you can quickly tell what permissions you have to use the work, so you can correctly cite it when you do use it.
One of the most common you might see us the CC BY, which means that the works are free to use, as long as you give proper attribution to the author. You will most likely see the logo that looks like this:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Other licenses indicate that you can use it, but not create derivatives (ND), adapting the works into a new form, such as creating a screenplay from a book or story, etc. Others stipulate that you can't use it for commercial purposes (NC), or that you need to share your derivative with the same license as the work you are using (SA). With each additional stipulation for permission to use, the logo is added, making it easily recognizable on the work, as shown in the example below.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The graphic to the left shows the range of the licenses from most open to least open, so you can quickly get the idea of how it works. This was taken from the Creative Commons Organization website, which is under a CC BY 4.0 license. It is also a great resource to learn more about CC licensing and how you can get involved in the process.