10 Different Creative Commons Projects That You Should Definitely Pay Attention To

Saikat Basu 11-11-2011

creative commons projectWhat we would do without open access on the web? Probably dole out a substantial portion of our incomes on consuming and sharing content. Thankfully, the spirit of sharing has been kept alive (and encouraged) by Creative Commons among other things. Creative Commons broken down to its basic core are a set of flexible copyright laws that allows creators and authors maintain ownership of their works while giving everyone else a chance to enjoy and share it.


Creative Commons has succeeded in championing the cause of open content. So much so that large swathes of intellectual properties are being kept open in the public domain…all licensed under Creative Commons.

Let’s take a look at five Creative Commons projects that could give you great content to look over and share for the price of a credit byline.

Flickr – The Commons

creative commons project

Flickr is one of the most well-known faces and probably the largest sources when it comes to Creative Commons licenses. There are more than 100 million CC licensed searchable images on the site. Flickr advanced search lets you search for CC licensed content with a checkmark on the right boxes.

The large content of Creative Commons content has evolved into a separate portal of its own – The Commons. It was launched with the cooperation of the Library of Congress and it has a two-fold purpose – to open access to historical images, and also to crowdsource the tagging and description of many of the photos.


Looking for another cool photo site with CC content? Try Fotopedia.


creative commons

The web comic is a definite must include if you like laughs and humor. The web comic which started off as a collection of doodles by the author today is a full-fledged site. All strips on the site are come under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 license. You are free to copy and reuse any of the drawings (non-commercially) if you link to the source.

Boing Boing

creative commons


It is one of the most popular blogs in the world. It is a mish-mash of cultural oddities and social commentaries. Topics cover technology, futurism, science fiction, gadgets, and left-wing politics. Gweek podcasts along with the video channel hosted on YouTube are two of the popular sections on the site. Most of the features on Boing Boing are licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.


creative commons

YouTube has taken to Creative Commons in a big way YouTube Creative Commons Library Is Re-Mix Heaven [News] Creative Commons, the intellectual property license that lets creators retain the rights to their work but also make it available for others to reuse and sample, has come to YouTube. The YouTube Video Editor now... Read More . You have to be a bit more proactive though and use YouTube’s video editor. Creative Commons-licensed videos can be found from within YouTube’s video editor through a special CC tab. You can edit the videos and create your own video mixes using the freely licensed videos. You have more than 10,000 videos sourced from partners like C-SPAN, Voice of America and Al-Jazeera to play around with.

OER – Open Educational Resources

open content


Learning and education has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of CC licensed content. Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that you may freely use and reuse, for free. The knowledgebase is organized with links to high-quality resources found on other websites. It’s a single window to high-quality educational materials numbering nearly 30,000. These OERs have a Creative Commons or GNU license that explains their use and distribution.


open content

This is a community music site with loads of remixes licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 license where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or create playlists with music. For instance, you can download sample packs and a cappellas, remix them in whichever way you want and then upload your version back into ccMixter for others to enjoy.


10 Different Creative Commons Projects That You Should Definitely Pay Attention To creative commons06


Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Sound types include audio files from sample files to ringtones that can be freely reused under the Creative Commons licenses provided. You can upload your own sound files and contribute to the database. Freesound supports four formats – MP3, FLAC, OGG, and AIFF/WAV. The Freesound Project has a well-used forum with active discussions.

Khan Academy

10 Different Creative Commons Projects That You Should Definitely Pay Attention To creative commons08

Pop legend says that even Bill Gates used it. With a library of over 2,600 videos covering math, physics, biology, chemistry, economics, finance, and even astronomy and history, this has developed into a strong eLearning portal for those interested in self-paced learning with the help of video lectures. All resources are freely available.

The White House

open content

It might not be of much use to you if you live outside the United States and have no interest in its politics. But to just let you know, all content on this governmental site is in the public domain. Furthermore, all third-party content on the site has to be made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. The photo galleries, podcasts, and the online petition tool are some of the handy clicks you can make on the site.


creative commons project

I put this right at the last because of its familiarity and also because it is probably the most cited of all Creative Commons licensed content projects along with Flickr. Wikipedia (and the entire collection of Wikimedia sites) fall under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

When we have open access we probably don’t pay attention to the licenses. But when it comes to sharing the content, we should give Creative Commons licenses due interest. Let these previous posts on Creative Commons also highlight their importance to you:

Do you take a closer look at Creative Content licenses when you are sharing content on the web? Do you think Creative Commons copyright rules have made the web more open?

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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  1. The DaringLibrarian?
    November 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    As an educator & a librarian --- I LOVE THIS LIST! Thank you!!
    ~Gwyneth Jones
    The Daring Librarian

    • Saikat Basu
      November 14, 2011 at 3:24 am

      Thanks! There are a few more educational resources that use Creative Commons. You can check them out with a Google search or on the Creative Commons site itself.

  2. Jacqui Murray
    November 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Good collection. I love XKCD comics

  3. Nick Daws
    November 12, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Useful list, but I do think there is a problem with CC 'non-commercial' licensing, as there is no official definition of what 'non-commercial' means.

    Obviously, a non-commercial licence means you can't put the image on a tee-shirt and sell it - but what about blogs (such as mine) where the blogger has a few AdSense ads or occasionally uses an affiliate link, to help defray some of his/her expenses?

    Surely most people using images or music online are hoping to get something in return, be it publicity, a book contract, more clients, more awareness of their cause, or just a bit of extra cash. To that extent, almost any use is likely to be 'commercial' according to the strictest interpretations.

    In my view it's a pity there isn't a clearer definition of 'non-commercial', or an alternative CC license for small-scale use. In the meantime, to be safe, I search for CC images allowing commercial use only, even though I don't really consider my blog a commercial, money-making enterprise.

    • Saikat Basu
      November 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      You are absolutely right. Here at we have had long discussions over it. Many of the cool photos on Flickr use this license and because of the confusion you just pause and rethink about their use in personal blogs. On one hand you can distribute the work and on the other, you cannot use it "commercially". What if you use a "noncommercial" image in a presentation that leads to a sale? How would that be construed? It's all so vague.