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COD Library Copyright Guide: Creative Commons & Public Domain

Shared Works - CC and Public Domain

Shared works - whether copyright free or made available under a free license - allow creators and users to share their knowledge and creativity with the world, in the classroom and beyond.

Creative commons license spectrum between public domain (top) and all rights reserved (bottom). Left side indicates the use-cases allowed, right side the license components. The dark green area indicates Free Cultural Works compatible licenses, the two green areas compatibility with the Remix culture. The bright green area alone can be seen as similar to the "fair use" concept, and the yellow area to the "freeware" concept.


No Rights Reserved - Public domain

When a work is not protected by copyright (either by design or the expiration of a copyright term) it enters the public domain, a realm where no rights are reserved.


Some Rights Reserved - Creative Common licenses

Open licenses, such as those provided by Creative Commons, allow copyright holders to grant permissions to users in a simple, straightforward manner, while still retaining specified rights - some rights reserved.


All Rights Reserved - Copyright by default

In copyright law, by default, all rights are reserved, or held, for the copyright holder.


image credit: "original CC license symbols by Creative Commons" by Shaddim is licensed CC BY 4.0

Additional Resources

Open at COD: Licenses -
Learn more about Creative Commons and copyright as it relates to open educational resources (OER).

Creative Commons: Use & Remix -
Search the Commons to find CC licensed content and learn how to properly attribute CC-licensed works.

The information on this site is intended to inform the faculty, staff, and students at the College of DuPage about copyright and to provide guidelines for using and creating copyrighted material. The information should not be considered legal advice.

For more information contact the Library's Copyright Liaison.

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  • Last Updated: Apr 21, 2023 1:41 PM
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