• Kurt Schmidt

How to: Get a Creative Commons License for your Blog or Website

Scrolling through my social media feeds, I stumbled across a Google+ post shared with me asking how I was able to attach a Creative Commons license to my blog.  I am stoked (yes, I said stoked) to see more people looking into alternative forms of copyright that allow increased sharing, remixing, and collaborating far beyond what an “all rights reserved” license does.  If you’ve read this far, you clearly have an interest in licensing your work with a CC license…or possibly finding out how you can use work that has been created with such a license.  Here’s a short (3min) video from Creative Commons that explains how it works:

Now that you have a sense for why using a creative commons license is an awesome idea, it’s time for you to select a license that fits with your idea of how you want your content to be available to the world.  There are a couple of different licenses you can get via, but you should carefully choose the one you wish to use to license your work!  Once a license has been attached to a piece of your work, all copies of that work that have been distributed with that license will continue to be covered under that license.  You can change the license you attach to your work (ex. for an updated version of the same work) but there’s no retroactive way to un-license work you’ve already shared.

Penny for Your Thoughts Work

Also, for those of you concerned that if you openly-license your work with a CC license, you’ll never be able to make a penny from it: you’re covered!  You poured your blood, sweat, and tears into a paper, video, or photo album, and then attached a CC BY-NC-SA license to it.  The “NC” portion of this license stands for “non-commercial” and is a critical aspect of CC licensing.  But what if someone wants to take that same piece of work and use it for commercial purposes…and compensate you? Are you stuck? Nope.

All CC licenses are non-exclusive, meaning you can license your work to the public (with that CC BY-NC-SA) license but also license the work separately to that person who wants to pay you to use your work for commercial purposes. Only that person (or business entity) you licensed your work to for commercial use will be able to use it in that way.  You can issue different licenses to your work to different folks depending on when/if business opportunities arise.

In short, the people over at Creative Commons are making it easier for you to protect your rights regarding work you’ve created, while supporting a greater system of sharing.  The website has also had a recent update that makes choosing your license oh-so-much easier.  So what are you waiting for?  Oh…now let’s see how easy it is to attach a CC license to your blog or website.

Five Simple Steps to Get a CC License on Your Blog

There are a couple different ways to do this, but this is a simple method that only involves a few clicks and the ability to copy and paste.  You can do that, right? :]

1. Go to

2. Select the options you would like your license to include (allow remixing? allow commercial use? etc)

3.  Add metadata to the license that provides more detail about your work (if you wish to)

4.  Copy (click in the box and press Ctrl+C) the HTML code that the CC License Chooser spits out for you

5.  Paste this code into a “text” or “HTML” widget, which you can add to via the control panel of your blog.

Once this is done, you’ll have a nice shiny Creative Commons license on display on your website or blog.  This same HTML code that you pasted into the text/HTML widget can be placed in any HTML document or field, but for the purpose of this post, it made sense to show how to do this inside of the WordPress blogging platform.  There are many possibilities, so feel free to explore!

Pulling It Together!

I’m happy to see so many people (youth/adults/learners/builder/movers/shakers…) using Creative Commons licenses more and more every day.  The idea of open licensing was brought up in my master’s degree program, but the full implications and benefits of licensing your work to share it with the world did not hit me until much later.  I hope some of you find this useful and want to give it a shot.

Read more at ALL ARK LLC

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