Thing 8: Creative Commons and Copyright

CC in chocolate 2
This is made of chocolate.

Photo credit: Sam Hopkins

If you are thinking of using externally sourced material (e.g. when you get to Thing 10), it’s important to understand the basics of what you can and can’t use. This post won’t/can’t cover it all (governments are grappling with the complexities of online copyright as we speak!), but we’ll look at Creative Commons (CC) and how it frees us to share and reuse online.

CC is a non-profit organisation that offers a simple, standardised way to give public permission to share and/or use your creative work. CC licenses offer various levels of permissions, from ‘all rights reserved’ to ‘some rights reserved’. CC licenses are now commonly found on photos, blogs (including this blog), published material, teaching resources, music and more.

Let’s take a moment to understand the CC license that this blog has.

Look down in the bottom right hand corner of the page. You will see an area in the sidebar with the CC logo and some text describing the nature of the licence.

Use the CC license page to understand the different elements of this licence, and think about what might be appropriate for any of your work.



  1. Consider adding a CC license to your blog or another piece of online work by using the ‘Choose a license’ page.
Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

Exploring further

  1. For general copyright information, you may wish to look at Surrey’s pages on Copyright and if you have questions contact the advisors mentioned on the right hand side.
  2. You might also explore issues related to open access, particularly in scholarly communication. One recent initiative is the UK Scholarly Communications Licence, UK-SCL, a model policy and licence that asserts researchers’ rights with regard to open access. Surrey is one of the early adopters of this licence.
  3. If you’re interested in copyright online beyond the basic CC licenses, you can explore endlessly. You might be interested in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US, which helps control access to online works. The UK Government has webpages dedicated to copyright and commissioned the Hargreaves Report, which looks at streamlining copyright in the digital age.


 Week 5 blog post
This week we’d like you to talk about one of the resources you found while exploring Things 7 and 8.  Do you already use reference management software? Have you signed up for the experience exchange? Can you see why these tools may be useful?

As we’ve talked about CC licenses, we’d like you to find an appropriately licensed image from Flickr (or another media site) that you can include in your post. Make sure it allows sharing! If you’re logged into Flickr, you can use the ‘Share’ button to grab the photo for your blog directly. Otherwise, you can either download and then upload to your blog, or grab the HTML or link for embedding.

Don’t forget to tag your post Thing 7 and 8.



Author: rdpsurrey

Providing personal and professional development opportunities to researchers at the University of Surrey.

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