Creative Commons Introduces CC+ License

The Creative Commons foundation recently released the CC+ protocol, which allows authors and other content makers to release their work for free (under the Creative Commons noncommercial license) and charge a fee for commercial use at the same time.

CC+ is an option for those who wish to dual-license their work. It's not a new license in and of itself. Rather, it's an extension that may be applied to the existing Creative Commons license.

A project that is already under the Creative Commons noncommercial license does not have to be relicensed to invoke CC+. Instead, an author may add a licensing clause that causes commercial usage conditions to be governed by CC+. Under CC+, authors may reserve other rights in addition to commercial usage, such as access to warranties and permission to use without attributing.

CC+ has many uses and advantages for both commercial and noncommercial users. For example, an artist may record a song or create digital artwork that may be freely distributed across the Internet, but remixing or derivative works are forbidden under the free license. With CC+, the artist may make provisions for those interested in creating derivative works by allowing such actions in exchange for licensing fees. CC+ accommodations of a work may be handled directly by the artist or by an approved affiliate.

According to a document released by Creative Commons, CC+ is intended to compete with commercial content by allowing artists and authors to have the best of both worlds. It's sort of a middle ground between open source and commercial licensing. In this way, the Creative Commons foundation predicts that content makers will continue to adopt Creative Commons licenses instead of making their own.

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Will Kraft is a Web designer, technical consultant and freelance writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. Also, check out his blog at