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CPS Guide to Open Education (UNH Manchester Library)

Providing attribution when you have revised or remixed open content


"Title of New Work" is derivative of the Title of Previous Work by Author of Previous Work, licensed CC Whatever license.

Follow this model and adapt as necessary in your situation. 

Providing attribution when you have re-used open content & attribution details

You can use CC-licensed materials as long as you follow the license conditions. One condition of all CC licenses is attribution. To learn more see: Best Practices for Attribution

Title, Author, Source, License

A good rule of thumb is to use the acronym TASL, which stands for Title, Author, Source, License.

Title - What is the name of the material?

If a title was provided for the material, include it. Sometimes a title is not provided; in that case, don't worry about it.

Author - Who owns the material?

Name the author or authors of the material in question. Sometimes, the licensor may want you to give credit to some other entity, like a company or pseudonym. In rare cases, the licensor may not want to be attributed at all. In all of these cases, just do what they request.

Source - Where can I find it?

Since you somehow accessed the material, you know where to find it. Provide the source of the material so others can, too. Since we live in the age of the Internet, this is usually a URL or hyperlink where the material resides.

License - How can I use it?

You are using the material for free thanks to the CC license, so make note of it. Remember that there are six different CC licenses; which one is the material under? Name and provide a link to it, eg. for CC BY.

→ If the licensor included a license notice with more information, include that as well.

Examples of Attribution

Here is a photo. Following it are some examples of how people might attribute it.

8256206923 c77e85319e n.jpg

A perfect attribution-

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This is an incorrect attribution-

Photo: Creative Commons

This is a good attribution for material you modified slightly

"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

This is a good attribution for material from which you created a derivative work

This work, "90fied", is a derivative of "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol, used under CC BY. "90fied" is licensed under CC BY by [Your name here].

Is there anything else I should know before I use it?

When you accessed the material originally did it come with any copyright notices; a notice that refers to the disclaimer of warranties; or a notice of previous modifications? (That was a mouthful!) Because that kind of legal mumbo jumbo is actually pretty important to potential users of the material. So best practice is to just retain all of that stuff by copying and pasting such notices into your attribution. Don't make it anymore complicated than it is -- just pass on any info you think is important.

→ Regarding modifications: Don't forget to note if you modified the work yourself (example). If you are at the point where you are creating and licensing derivative works (example), see Marking your work with a CC license.

These best practices are based on actual CC license requirements. Noting the title is a requirement of all CC licenses version 3.0 or earlier, optional for 4.0. Noting the author, source, license, and retaining any extra notices is a requirement of all CC licenses. See Devil in the details.

Devil in the details

If you have any doubts or questions, you can read the complete attribution requirements which are spelled out in detail in the legal code of every CC license, eg. This chart compares the detailed requirements across all versions of CC licenses.

Don't make it too complicated

The license tells you to be reasonable:

You may satisfy the conditions in (1) and (2) above in any reasonable manner based on the medium, means and context in which the Licensed Material is used. For example, it may be reasonable to satisfy some or all of the conditions by retaining a copyright notice, or by providing a URI or hyperlink associated with the Licensed Material, if the copyright notice or webpage includes some or all of the required information.

There is no one right way; just make sure your attribution is reasonable and suited to the medium you're working with. That being said, you still have to include attribution requirements somehow, even if it's just a link to an About page that has that info. (More on different mediums below.)



GSC Open Ed Guide is largely derived from Texas Learn OER by Carrie Gits for DigiTex is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 2020