Attributing CC-licensed materials

When you use CC-licensed materials you must follow the conditions of the licence the material is released under. All CC licences require users to attribute the creator. Attribution is also required under the moral rights scheme in the Australian copyright law. For content under a CC licence, generally this requires you to:

  • Identify the creator: Often this is achived by specifying the name of the creator. Use common sense when determining who to attribute. For example, if a name is not obvious you could list a username for the creator of the material instead.
  • Identify the title of the material: If the material has a title you should also specify the title.
  • Provide the source link: If you found the material online you should provide the URL to where the material is hosted so others can easily find the original content. Depending on situation, this can be done by linking to the URL or providing the URL as text. If the original work does not have an associated URL, you do not have to link back to the original work.
  • Inform others of the licence: You should indicate the type of licence the creator released the original material under, including the link to the licence so others can easily find the licence terms. CC licences can be identified in several ways: by the licence’s name in full, the abbreviated form of the licence name or the two badges CC makes available to represent each licence.
  • Disclosing derivative works: For material under the CC licences that permit remixing, where you have adapted the original material you should attribute the original material in your derivative and identify that changes have been made to it.
  • Reproduce any copyright notice: You should also keep intact or reproduce any copyright notice associated with the material.
  • Follow the manner of attribution specified: If a creator has specified the manner in which they would like to be attributed, you should honour that request.

A mnemonic device that is sometimes used in relation to attribution is TASL: Title, Author, Source, Licence.

This may sound like a lot of information, but there is flexibility in the way you present it. Where possible, the same information should be included regardless of how you are reusing the CC-licensed content. Sometimes that is impractical or impossible. The CC licences let you change the exact placement, language or level of detail depending on the circumstances, as long as your attribution is still ‘reasonable to the medium’.

If you are looking for further guidance on attributing CC-licensed material, we recommend the detailed guides to attribution best practice on the CC Wiki and the Smartcopying website.