Legal Issues in Digital Teaching

Creative Commons (CC) Licences

More and more media content (such as images, videos, sound) is being published on the web under an open CC licence. This means that permission to use these works does not have to be obtained explicitly from the author. CC licences have also become established within the framework of the OER movement (Open Educational Resources).

Overview of where to find images, videos & sound under CC licence on the web


Creative Common (CC) Licences

…are standardised licence agreements created by the non-profit organisation Creative Commons to promote creativity and openness in the commons such as culture, education, or science. With the granting of a CC licence, the use of the respective work is automatically permitted under certain conditions.

To the Creative Commons website

Use CC Licences

For Internet Users

Works subject to a CC licence are usually free of charge and available for free sharing. Depending on the licence type, the works may be used, commercially used and further edited. Behind the licence types are standard agreements that regulate the conditions under which use is permitted (see an overview to CC licences – in German language). The licence agreements have global validity.

A special feature is the CC licence CC 0 (Zero), as it allows use without the usual licence conditions. When using this licence, we nevertheless recommend citing the source of the work used.

When using CC-licensed materials, follow the TULLU rule for citing sources (in German language)

For Creators

CC licences offer creators a wide range of options for licensing their material according to their own needs – a kind of modular principle. The principle is easy to understand for both authors and users. With the help of the individual CC licence buttons, the respective conditions for further use can be seen at a glance.

The 4 questions and the info-graphic by Jöran Muuß-Meerholz on wb-web are helpful for choosing the right CC licence (in German language)

Please note when using CC licences:

If licensors want to ensure that the use of licensed materials remains free of charge, they must choose the NC-SA elements. This is the only way to ensure that there is no freedom of choice for subsequent licensees.

Note that there are different versions of a particular CC licence. The distinction lies in the version number and the country code, which indicates that the licence has been adapted to the legislation of a country.

CC BY-SA 3.0 DE: CC BY-SA licence in version number 3.0 and adapted to Germany (DE)
CC BY-SA 4.0: CC BY-SA licence in version number 4.0 and internationally sourced

More information on the current licence versions and on the topic of “porting to local legal systems” (in German language)

Interesting facts on jointly on the use of CC licences for open educational materials (OER)