What CC BY-ND Means

The Creative Commons Attribution–NonDerivative License is one of the licenses created by the Creative Commons project. A work licensed in this way allows the following:

  1. The freedom to use and perform the work: The licensee must be allowed to make any use, private or public, of the work.
  2. The freedom to study the work and apply the information: The licensee must be allowed to examine the work and to use the knowledge gained from the work in any way. The license may not, for example, restrict “reverse engineering.”
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies: Copies may be sold, swapped or given away for free, in the same form as the original.

The license places three key restrictions on those freedoms:

  1. You must not restrict access to the work using technical measures, or otherwise attempt to impose limitations on the freedoms above.
  2. You must give proper attribution to the author and retain the license notice.
  3. You must not make any derivative forms of the work.


Which leads to an important question–what is a derivative work?

It’s a bit complicated.

According to Title 17 Section 101 of the Copyright Act:

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

The key words here are “recast, transformed, or adapted.” A derivative work involves enough creativity and originality that it constitutes a new copyrightable work. Simply converting a work from one medium to another — from print to digital, or CD to MP3 — does not produce a derivative work.

One Exception

In general, the kinds of adaptations that the No Derivatives license prohibits match the definition of derivative works in the Copyright Act, but there is an exception: Songs used in video. No Derivatives licenses use the word “Adaptation” instead of the legal term “derivative work,” and include this language in the definition of “Adaptation”:

For the avoidance of doubt, where the Work is a musical work, performance or phonogram, the synchronization of the Work in timed-relation with a moving image (“synching”) will be considered an Adaptation for the purpose of this License.

Using an unaltered song in the soundtrack to a video does not make the video a derivative work, because the song itself has not been recast, transformed, or adapted in any way. However, the language above extends the definition of adaptation to include “synchronization of [music] with a moving image,” which means that as far as No Derivatives licenses are concerned, videos that use an ND-licensed song violate the terms of the license.

Examples of adaptations as defined by the ND license

  • Translating a short story from one language to another
  • Photoshopping a picture to add to or alter its original elements
  • Using a sample from one song to make new song

Examples of things that are not adaptations as defined by the ND license

  • Including a short story in a collection of short stories
  • Reproducing an unedited image on a website
  • Using an unedited video in the background of a live concert

Two things to keep in mind:

  1. Creative Commons licenses do not affect your fair use rights. No Derivatives licenses do not prevent people from making fair uses of the work, which may include copying excerpts, creating parodies, and other activities that involve using the work without making an exact reproduction.
  2. If you would like to use a CC-licensed work in a way that is not permitted by the license, you can ask for permission. Copyright holders are free to offer as many different non-exclusive licenses as they wish. No Derivatives licenses don’t rule out the possibility of making a derivative from the original, you just have to ask for permission to do so.


How to Use CC BY-ND Sources in Lumen Courses

OER material with a CC BY-ND license allows you to apply ONLY SOME of the 5R’s (reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain) to it.  You CANNOT adapt or remix it.  You can only copy & paste it into Lumen works.

Note that CC BY-ND is sometimes combined with other Creative Commons Licenses.  All of the combined licenses must be respected when using these sources in your book.

You cannot revise or remix content with an ND license.  You have to use the item in its entirety.


How to Attribute CC BY-ND Sources in Lumen Courses

  1. In the “Citations” portion of your Edit Page, beneath the text editor box, select “CC Licensed Content.”Locating the CC Licensed Citations tool in the Citations Pull-down menu
  2. Add as much information about the Description of the Content, the Author, the Organization, the URL, and the Project as you have available.
  3. Under the “Licensing” pull-down menu, select “CC BY-ND: Attribution-NoDerivs.”How to locate the CC-BY-ND option in the Citations Pull-down Menu
  4. Click Update on the right to Save the page (or “Publish” if the page hasn’t yet been published).


How to Apply CC BY-ND to Your Original Work in Lumen Courses

If you create material in your Candela book that you’d like to license as CC BY-ND, you can use the same tools to cite it as noted above.  Use the “Description” and “Author” fields in the Citation section to give yourself credit for this work.  Including your “Organization” (such as school name) and/or the URL for your institution will be helpful if others want to contact you about this work later on.

If you opt to apply ND to your own work, you are requiring that anyone who uses it must also use the ND license on it.

Note that, like the Non-Commercial license, the Non-Derivative License can often cause more (unintentional) harm than good when applying it to educational materials.  Others cannot improve upon your work, even if you would want them to (for instance, if information becomes outdated, is unclear, or if external links stop working.)