Our vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.
The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. That someone is Creative Commons.
Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.
What we provide
The infrastructure we provide consists of a set of copyright licenses and tools that create a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.
Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright — which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the internet. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law. We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solid, globally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs.
If you’d like to see what kinds of companies and organizations are using Creative Commons licenses to realize the full potential of the Internet, visit our Who Uses CC? page.
For those creators wishing to opt out of copyright altogether, and to maximize the interoperability of data, Creative Commons provides tools that allow work to be placed as squarely as possible in the public domain.
Where we’re going
We build infrastructure at Creative Commons. Our users build the commons itself. We are working to increase the adoption of our tools, to support and listen to our users, and to serve as a trusted steward of interoperable commons infrastructure.