Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Creative Commons and Copyright: Using CC Licenses & CC-Licensed Works

Collection VS Remixes

Within Creative Commons, a collection refers to the curation of resources, where each resource maintains their individual license terms. The new product may be subject copyrighted but not the individual resources since they do not belong to the curator. A remix, however, combines different resources to create an entirely new product, in a remix, it is often difficult to differentiate between the resources, but it is still important to provide attribution tot he resources used. it is important to ensure that the resources used ll have compatible licenses in order to make it shareable. Nate Angell’sprovides a great model to explain the difference between a collection and a re-mix Open Licensing over TV Dinners and Smoothies.

Attribution Builder

You can use this tool to help build your attribution.

Description of Collections

A collection is the compilation of different creative works while maintaining each work as independent and distinct. A good example of a collection is an anthology. A collection is not considered an adaptation since each work maintains its own uniqueness. Each work maintains its copyright and copyright licenses and must be attributed individually. This information provides the public with what they need to know to understand who created what and which license terms apply to specific content. A collection may be copyrighted but only as a new product, not including the works collected.

Licenses Considerations for Collections

  • CC licenses and CC0 are irrevocable. It is important to carefully consider the licensing options before selecting a CC license since the selected license would apply to that work until the copyright expires.
  • You must own the copyright of the work to which you apply a CC license. Before applying a CC license to a work you must ensure that you have the copyright to that specific work.
  • Creative Commons licenses are standardized licenses. the nature of CC licenses makes them easy to understand and remix. Modifications to CC licenses negates the license and are strongly discouraged. This link provides more information on the legal policy about modifying CC licenses.
  • Selling a CC licensed work. As the creator of a CC licensed work, you are allowed to sell your work in any format. The buyer of your work acquires the right to distribute copies and remixes of your work to others free under the terms of the applicable CC license. If you wish to charge for access to someone else's CC licensed work, you must ensure that it does not have a NonCommerical (NC) restriction applied to the license.
  • Consider the format. Your format can enable or limit accessibility and how shareable your work is. It is important to ensure that your format makes it easy for your work to be remixed and reused.
  • Changing your mind about a CC license. If you choose, you can offer your work under a difference CC license, however, but you cannot revoke the original CC license. 
  • Using your work in ways you don't like. You cannot control how other people use your work as long as they abide by the license terms and conditions. However, there are things that you can do to indicate that you do not wish to be associated with how your work has been used, or to express your disagreement with how your work is being used.
  1. You can point to the fact that CC licenses prohibit using the attribution requirement to suggest that the licensor endorses or supports a particular use of their work.
  2. You can waive the attribution requirement and tell the licensee (reuser) that you choose not to be identified as the licensor.
  3. You can require the licensee to remove the attribution information based on the CC licensing requirements.
  4. Anyone modifying licensed material must indicate that the original has been modified which ensures that changes made to your original material cannot be attributed back to you.

Description of Remixes / Adapted Works / Derivative Works

A remix or adaptation remixes material from different sources to create an entirely new creation. When materials from different sources are blended together you often cannot tell where one work ends and another begins. Attribution to the individual parts is still required when creating a remix or adaptation.

Licensing Considerations for Remixes / Adapted Works / Derivative Works

The most important thing to consider when reusing CC licensed works is to provide attribution to the creator of the work. The one requirement for use of all CC licenses is to provide attribution. The best practice for attribution is to apply the TASL approach.

  • T = Title
  • A = Author
  • S = Source
  • L = License

See the Creative Commons Best Practices for Attribution web page for more detailed information.

Fair use, or fair dealing. If your reuse of a CC licensed work falls under the fair use exemption then you have no obligations under the CC license.

Adaptations of a work. Adaptations of a work are also referred to as derivative works. It refers to creating a new work from a copyrighted work that is sufficiently original to itself to warrant copyright protection. If you wish to make an adaption of a CC licensed work take a look at the Creative Commons discussion of things to consider.

Changes to a work such as spelling corrections are not considered an adaptation since something new is not created based on or derived from the original. For example, if you use a few lines from a poem to illustrate a poetry technique in an article, your article is not an adaptation because it is not derived from or based on the poem from which you took a few lines. However, if you rearranged the stanzas in the poem and added new lines, then the resulting work would almost always be considered an adaptation.

Here are some particular types of uses to consider:

  1. Taking excerpts of a larger work. Read the relevant FAQ.
  2. Using a work in a different format. Read the relevant FAQ.
  3. Modifying a work. Read the relevant FAQ.

If your reuse of a CC licensed work DOES NOT create an adaptation, then:

  1. it does not require you to ShareAlike if you are using an SA-licensed work.
  2. the NoDerivatives (ND) restriction does not apply if you are using an ND-licensed work, and
  3. you can combine that CC licensed material with other work as long as you attribute and comply with the NonCommercial restriction if it applies.

If your use of a CC licensed work DOES create an adaptation, then:

  1. If the underlying work is licensed under a NoDerivatives license, you can make and use changes privately but you cannot share your adaptation with others.
  2. If the underlying work is licensed under a ShareAlike license, then ShareAlike applies to your adaptation and you must license it under the same or a compatible license.
  3. You need to consider license compatibility. License compatibility is the term used to address the issue of which types of licensed works can be adapted into a new work.
  4. In all cases, you have to attribute the original work when you create an adaptation.

License Compatibility. The license compatibility must be considered when an adaption is created. Certain elements of a CC license are compatible with other elements. For example, BY-NC is compatible with BY, in the sense that you can adapt a BY work and use BY-NC on your adaptation. But if the underlying work is licensed with BY-SA or BY-NC-SA, your adapter’s license must be the same license applied to the original or a license that is designated as compatible to the original license.

For example, if you decide to include a work that has a CC BY NC on a collection, you are free to share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and adapt, remix, transform and build upon the material as long as you give attribution. However, you may not use the material for commercial purposes.

When you are creating collections, adaptations, derivative works or remixes it is important to licence them under a compatible licence. It is important to note that if an original work has an NoDerivatives (ND) element in its licence, you cannot share any remix, adapt or creative derivatives you make of it.

If you make adaptations to material under a CC license (i.e. “remix”), the original CC license always applies to the material you are adapting even once adapted. The license you may choose for your own contribution (called your “adapter’s license”) depends on which license applies to the original material. Recipients of the adaptation must comply with both the CC license on the original and your adapter’s license.

  • BY and BY-NC material

When remixing BY or BY-NC material, it is generally recommended that your adapter’s license include at least the same license elements as the license applied to the original material. This eases reuse for downstream users because they are able to satisfy both licenses by complying with the adapter’s license. For example, if you adapt material licensed under BY-NC, your adapter’s license should also contain the NC restriction. See the chart below for more details.

  • BY-SA and BY-NC-SA material

In general, when remixing ShareAlike content, your adapter’s license must be the same license as the license on the material you are adapting. All licenses after version 1.0 also allow you to license your contributions under a later version of the same license, and some also allow ported licenses. (See the license versions page for details.) If you wish to adapt material under BY-SA or BY-NC-SA and release your contributions under a non-CC license, you should visit the Compatibility page to see which options are allowed.

  • BY-ND and BY-NC-ND material

The BY-ND and BY-NC-ND licenses do not permit distribution of adaptations (also known as remixes or derivative works), and prohibits the creation of adaptations under the pre-4.0 versions of those licenses. Since you may not share remixes of these materials at all, there is no compatibility with other licenses. (Note that the ND licenses do allow you to reproduce the material in unmodified form together with other material in a collection, as indicated in the next FAQ.)

To assist with this consideration, the chart below can help in deciding which elements are compatible with the licences already attached to the original works you used. If there is an "X" in the box then the works may not be remixed unless an exception or limitation applies.

















CC License Compatibility Chart / CC BY 4.0

Step 1: Choose License Features

Publishing under a Creative Commons license is easy. First, choose the conditions that you want to apply to your work.

Step 2: Get a License

Based on your choices, you will get a license that clearly indicates how other people may use your creative work. 


All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.


CC-BY icon


You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

CC-BY-SA icon

CC-BY-ND icon


 You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

CC-by-NC icon

CC-BY-NC-SA icon


You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivs) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

CC-BY-NC-ND icon


Collection of CC-licensed Works

A compilation of cool videos about CC by Devika Ramsingh is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0

Creative Commons License Elements by Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand with support from InternetNZ. Licensed under a CC Attribution-ShareAlike.

Creative Commons: Remix from Creative Commons on Vimeo. Licensed under CC BY 3.0


Creative Commons License
Creative Commons & Copyright LibGuide by Devika Ramsingh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on 06/12/2020 CC Certification Certificate for Librarians course under a CC BY 4.0 license.
This guide is adapted from Creative Commons & Copyright LibGuide by Tom Eland Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.