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This guide contains information (but not legal advice) about aspects of copyright most commonly encountered by the students, faculty, or staff of institutions of higher education.

Probably the best advice you'll find on this guide

Creative Commons licenses provide a no-cost way for creators to share their work--under conditions specified by the creator--while still retaining copyright to their work and control over how it is used. According to the Creative Commons website: 

The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.

For example, if you wrote and recorded a song that you wished to share at no charge via YouTube, you might choose a Creative Commons license that allows others to share your recording but only if they 1) attribute the work to you, 2) do not use it for commercial purposes, and 3) do not create derivative works. Such a license would allow your song to be heard by anyone; however, if Lady Gaga wanted to do a cover version of your song, her representatives would be required to negotiate the rights to do so with you. 

There are a number of different types of Creative Commons licenses, each of which provides varying levels of restrictions over what can or cannot be done with your work. Check out this guide created by the University of Michigan Library to learn more about Creative Commons licenses and decide which license is right for you.