Who Uses CC?

This page highlights some of the best known users of Creative Commons licenses. For many more, see our case studies and interviews and watch our blog — especially the milestone tag — for the latest. You can also search hundreds of millions of CC licensed works and choose a license for your own.

Al Jazeera

Flickr

Flickr was one of the first major online communities to incorporate Creative Commons licensing options into its user interface, giving photographers around the world the easy ability to share photos on terms of their choosing. As the Flickr community grew, so did the number of CC-licensed images — currently there are well over 200 million on the site — establishing Flickr as the Web’s single largest source of CC-licensed content. Flickr’s services have grown to include a CC image portal and advanced CC search features, making the site one of world’s most useful resources for discovering creativity that is available for free and legal sharing, use, and remixing.

Google

Google

Google has utilized CC licenses in a variety of instances throughout their digital services. Either by enabling CC-search capabilities through their main search engine, image search engine, and book search engine, or by allowing users to CC license their own content in Picasa, Google Knol, and documentation at Google Code. YouTube, which is Google-owned, has added the CC BY licensing option for video uploads; used CC-licenses in their audio-swap program, allowing users to swap “All Rights Reserved” music for similar-sounding CC-licensed tracks; and has also enabled CC-licensing for select institutions.

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails

When Trent Reznor decided to shake up the music industry through a new distribution model, the Nine Inch Nails front-man used CC as an anchor point, releasing the Grammy nominated Ghosts I-IV under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. While Reznor gave the first disc away for free digitally, NIN sold tiered offerings ranging from a $5 download of the full album to a $300 premium box set. Limited to 2,500 units, the box set netted $750,000 in profit for the band. Ghosts went on to become the #1 paid MP3 download on Amazon.com for 2008. NIN’s next album, The Slip, was released for free under the same license, fueling a sold-out tour.

OpenCourseWare

OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare has been releasing its materials under a CC BY-NC-SA license since 2004. Today, MIT OCW has over 1900 courses available freely and openly online for anyone, anywhere to adapt, translate, and redistribute. For more on MIT and OCW, see “OCW as a transition to college” and “Two MIT OCW Courses Reach Million Visit Milestone.” The OpenCourseWare concept has now spread to dozens of universities worldwide.

Public Library of Science

Public Library of Science

Open Access journals are a key component to the knowledge sharing cycle in scholarly communication. There are a number of journals that are leading the way in ensuring and enabling the sharing and reuse of scholarly content, most notably the Public Library of Science (PLoS), BioMed Central, and Hindawi. PLoS, for example, publishes seven scientific journals, including the high-impact PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine, and PLoS ONE, a web-centric rethink of the scientific journal. All PLoS content is published under a Creative Commons Attribution license – the freest license in the Creative Commons suite, and also in compliance with the definition of Open Access.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Wikipedia recently migrated its licensing structure from the GNU Free Documentation License to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. The world’s largest and most cited collaborative encyclopedia made this move via a community vote and for good reason. By changing to a CC BY-SA license, Wikipedia (and the entire collection of Wikimedia sites) allows content to legally flow in and out of the site with ease, enabling one of the great cultural resources of the digital revolution to legally interact with an endless array of similar cultural institutions.

Whitehouse.gov

Whitehouse.gov

The Obama Administration has used Creative Commons licenses in a variety of ways, from licensing presidential campaign photos, releasing information on transition site Change.gov via a CC Attribution license, to requiring that third-party content posted on Whitehouse.gov be made available via CC Attribution Only as well. The US Government’s stance on openness is unsurprising, as its CTO, Aneesh Chopra, has gone on record stating that CC licenses have directly informed his perspective on how intellectual property should be accessed, shared, and reused—not to mention derived, adapted, and remixed.