One of the best, most concise, explanations of Creative Commons I have come across.

Creative Commons Licenses Explained In Plain English

One of the best ways to find usable copyrighted works, especially images, is to find someone who wants to share their work under a Creative Commons license. Since 2002, Creative Commons has been giving creators a way to share their work without having to relinquish copyright or individually license their work. These licenses have provided the public with the ability to use works under set circumstances without needing to pay for a license or pass along royalties.

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