What is the difference between open licenses such as Creative Commons (CC) licenses, Public Domain (PD), and All Rights Reserved copyright?


All Rights Reserved copyright means that the copyright holder reserves for their own use, all of the rights provided by copyright law. Typically, if materials are copyrighted with all rights reserved, users are not allowed to republish them without copyright holder’s explicit permission.

It is important to understand the difference between public domain and open licenses (such as Creative Commons licenses). They both grant free access to the materials, but their scope and nature are completely different.

Open licensing does recognize clear and specific ownership of intellectual property, whereas the intent of public domain is for the copyright holder to waive copyright ownership in the work. Consequently, users are required to attribute the work to the original authors when using openly licensed materials.

In a way, public domain is the purest form of open/free since no one owns or controls the material in any way. The graphic below illustrates the difference between these terms (Source).

(CC-BY) Image Source

Creative Commons, CC, Public Domain, PD, Copyright, license, open license, All Rights Reserved, open