Open Educational Resources Community of Learning

Module 4: Licensing: Attributing Creative Commons Licenses

The six basic Creative Commons licenses require attribution. Public domain works don't legally require attribution. Attribution is a best practice in an educational setting - it helps you and students to understand the importance of identifying sources and prevents any appearance of plagiarism.

So how do you attribute?


How to Build Open Attributions

Giving proper attribution to open works is easy if you remember a few simple rules and take the following steps:


Step 1: All CC licenses require attribution.

Not only do you want to properly give credit for work, but you want people to be able to find the original resource easily.


Step 2: Remember TASL:

  • T = Title
  • A = Author (tell reusers who to give credit to)
  • S = Source (give reusers a link to the resource)
  • L = License (link to the CC licence deed)

When providing attribution, the goal is to mark the work with full TASL information. When you don’t have some of the TASL information about a work, do the best you can and include as much detail as possible.


Here is a picture that has been properly attributed with TASL:

Cupcakes with CC logo

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol  is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Title: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco"

Author: "tvol " - linked to his profile page

Source: "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco " - linked to original Flickr page

License: "CC BY 2.0" - linked to license deed 


Step 3: Use a tool:

  • Open Attribution Builder : A web tool to assist users of CC material to properly attribute.  It allows you to enter the title, URL for work, author and website, organization, and CC license type and will provide attribution information which can be copied and pasted into your own work containing the CC material.


Step 4: Indicate a derivative or adaptation:

You should always attribute the original work in any derivative work and identify that changes have been made. Often the simplest way to do this is to use the phrase “Adapted from …” or “This work is a derivative of…” and attribute the original work as you would normally. If your work incorporates a number of derivative works, you might say, “Adapted from the following sources…” and list each original work sequentially. 


Step 5: Where to place your attribution:

For text resources, include the attribution details where it naturally makes sense, such as immediately preceding or following the work, or as the footer along the bottom of the page on which the CC work appears. For videos, include the attribution information near the work as it appears on screen during the video. For sound recordings, mention the name of the artist during the recording and provide full attribution details in text near the podcast where it is being stored.

For more information on attribution, see these guides by Creative Commons: Use-remix and Best practices for attribution.



This page is borrowed from Attributing Creative Commons Licenses by Canvas in Canvas Free for Teacher, offered under a CC BY 4.0 license


Materials on this page were adapted from:

4.1 Choosing and Applying a CC License,  Creative Commons Certificate for Librarians Creative Commons , offered under a CC Attribution .

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco (Links to an external site.)" by tvol (Links to an external site.) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Best practices for attribution, by CC Wiki  licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0  license.  

“Open Attribution Builder”  by Open Washington SBCTC  licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Open Attribute  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported  License.

How to attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?  by CCCOER , licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.