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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

3D Designs on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech

A guide for including 3D designs and associated files in Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech

Licensing 3D Designs

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges. 

Part of the Creative Commons mission is to provide Creative Commons licenses that give every person and organization in the world a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of those works

Creative Commons License Chooser (beta)

Don't know what license you need? The Creative Commons License Chooser tool (beta version) is here to help. Follow the steps to select the appropriate license for your work. This site does not store any information.

The original License Chooser is also available here.


If you have questions at any stage of the submission process, please email and a librarian will reach out to you.

Copyright Basics

Copyright is a form of United States intellectual property law that affords creators certain exclusive rights over their works for a limited period of time.  Protection of these rights is automatic and does not require formal registration - although registration can be beneficial to the copyright holder in cases of infringement (i.e. copyright violation.) 

What is protected?
Works that are original (not copies of others), display a minimum degree of creativity (unlike a simple A-Z list), and are recorded or "fixed in a tangible medium" (e.g. saved in a computer, painted on canvas, written on a napkin in the cafeteria) are automatically protected under copyright.

Copyright is frequently associated with literary, pictorial, motion picture, and musical works. However, research papers, computer code, and some figures used in the STEM disciplines meet the criteria for copyright and are therefore protected.

What is not protected?
Facts, ideas, concepts, principles, or discoveries are not own-able under U.S. intellectual property law. Processes, procedures, methods, and systems are not protected under copyright but may be protected under U.S. patent law. Works that are in the public domain which includes works by the U.S. government and works for which copyright has expired are not protected.

Who holds the copyright to a work?
Creators can include authors, photographers, composers, artists, cartographers, and architects. These creators can transfer or license some or all of their copyrights. In the case of "work for hire" the employer, not the creator holds the copyright for the work - although the creator may retain some limited rights to the work.

What are the exclusive rights?
Copy - right to reproduce the work (whole or in part.)
Make derivatives - right to create translations, sequels, adaptations, other works based upon the original
Distribute - right to make the work publicly available through sale, loan or gift
Perform or display - right to publicly show or perform the work.
Permission - right to grant permission for any of the aforementioned.

Creative Commons Licenses

CC0 Public Domain Dedication - By using CC0, you waive all copyright and related rights to a work to the extent possible under the law.

Attribution, CC BY - This is the most open of all licenses offered. Allows others to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.

Attribution-Share Alike, CC BY-SA - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial, CC BY-NC - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, CC BY-NC-SA - This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.

Attribution-NoDerivatives, CC BY-ND - This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs, CC BY-NC-ND - This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Creative Commons License
Adapted from the Lansing Community College (LCC) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resource (OER) Edited by Amy Larson by Regina Gong is licensed under a  Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.