A set of copyright licences is offered to the public free of charge. These licences will help people tell the world that their copyrighted works are free for re-use, but only on certain conditions. For example, if you don't mind people copying and distributing your online article so long as they give you credit, there’s a licence that  helps you say so. The licences do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright, including fair use or fair dealing, nor do they give you the ability to control anything which is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas. 

 
People can mix and match various licence preferences from a menu of options:

Attribution (BY)

Permit others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and derivative works based upon it only if they give you credit. Attribution is now automatically included in all the “some rights reserved” licences (the core licences.)

No Derivative Works (ND). 

Permit others to copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based upon it. Examples of derivative works would be translations into other languages.

Image from http://creativecommons.org

Image from http://creativecommons.org

Non-commercial (NC).

Permit others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and derivative works based upon it only for non-commercial purposes. The "non commercial use" condition applies only to others who use your work, not to you (the copyright holder). When other people use or trade or copy your work, they cannot do so for "monetary compensation or financial gain," unless they get your permission. 

Share Alike (SA). 

Permit others to distribute derivative works only under a licence identical to the licence that governs your work. 

 

For more information and to select the licence that's right for you please try the Creative Commons Licence Chooser.