How to properly attribute another's work in compliance a Creative Commons license

Copyrights often protect an author's original work. They restrict another's ability to share, distribute, or use the original author's intellectual property. There isn't much of a middle ground. A Creative Commons license fills that void. Here's how to properly attribute another's work with one.

  1. Identify the Author

    The first requirement to use another's work with a Creative Commons license is to give the author credit. This includes a pseudonym or username if applicable. Also, if the user originally published the work on a platform with a username, the license will likely require you to disclose the username and provide a link to the user's profile.
  2. Identify the Title

    If the author originally published the work with a title, then a proper attribution will include the title to the work. Like the requirement above, if there is an online link to the original work with the Creative Commons license, then you must provide that link in your attribution as well.
  3. Identify the Creative Commons License Type

    There are several different types of Creative Commons licenses that range in free use ability. It's important to identify the one attached to the original work in the attribution. The original Creative Commons license could incorporate any of the following conditions: Attribution (you can distribute and make derivatives as long as you give the author credit); Non-Commercial (You cannot distribute for any commercial use); No Derivative Works (You can distribute but only a verbatim copy of the original work); and Share Alike (You can distribute but only under a license identical to the one attached to the original). The Creative Commons license can attach different conditions depending on the author's specifications, except a license cannot have both a Non Derivative and Share Alike condition.
  4. Identify any Copyright Notices

    The original work might still include applicable copyright notices that the author will want you to include in your attribution. This is usually when the original author wants to provide credit to another party used in the original work. Be careful to include that attribution as well in your distribution.