When using materials for your courses or even for academic research and publication, you may see work designated with at Creative Commons License. What does it mean?
Some authors and creators are happy and willing to share their work more freely than U.S. copyright law currently allows. In order to make their wishes clear to both you and the law, they often license their work. A license details the terms and conditions the author has established with regards to using his or her works. There are many different types of licenses but some of the most common and useful in an academic setting are Creative Commons Licenses. A Creative Commons license is a grant of permission from the author to the public (or a segment of the public) to use portions of work otherwise protected by copyright without first obtaining permission from the author (within certain established guidelines).
The creative commons website contains a great description of the types of licenses. Depending on the specification in the license, the user may be permitted to do only certain things with the work (for instance a CC-NC license designates that only non commercial uses are permitted).
Shaddim; "Creative Commons License Spectrum," CC-BY 4.0
Creative Commons Resources:
University of South Florida Introduction to Creative Commons Video