FAQ: “What if I change my mind about the CC license?” or “What if the creator changes their CC license?”

Please Note: Creative Commons does not provide legal advice. This FAQ is designed to be helpful in raising awareness about the use of CC licenses. It is not a substitute for legal advice. It may not cover important issues that affect you and you may wish to consult with a lawyer.

If you’ve been using CC-licensed materials (from others), at some point you might ask yourself: “What if the other person changes the CC license?

For example, let’s say you’re in a business that makes videos. A year earlier, you found my music website and used one of my CC-BY licensed music (the CC-BY license allows for commercial use). You’ve attributed the music accordingly in the video, and you’re selling your videos. A year later, you find out that I’ve changed my CC-BY license to CC-BY-NC.

So you’re asking, does that mean you can’t sell that video anymore? Since I’ve changed the CC license.

Here’s the thing: “Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable.”

As a creator, when I’ve adopted a CC license, it means I’ve also accepted the following terms:

What if I change my mind?
Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work. So you need to think carefully when choosing a Creative Commons license to make sure that you are happy for people to be using your work consistent with the terms of the license, even if you later stop distributing your work.

Source: Creative Commons FAQ Wiki – “What if I change my mind?” (last accessed 22 Oct 2010). CC-BY 3.0.

Now back to you, i.e the viewpoint of the person who used my music for your commercially-sold video. You ought to have the assurance that as long as you’ve adhered to the stated CC terms of use — at the point of use — then you should be covered.

~ Ivan (CC-SG Community Manager)


How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?

From the Creative Commons FAQ page:

All current CC licenses require that you attribute the original author(s). If the copyright holder has not specified any particular way to attribute them, this does not mean that you do not have to give attribution. It simply means that you will have to give attribution to the best of your ability with the information you do have. Generally speaking, this implies five things:

  • If the work itself contains any copyright notices placed there by the copyright holder, you must leave those notices intact, or reproduce them in a way that is reasonable to the medium in which you are re-publishing the work.
  • Cite the author’s name, screen name, user identification, etc. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link that name to the person’s profile page, if such a page exists.
  • Cite the work’s title or name, if such a thing exists. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice to link the name or title directly to the original work.
  • Cite the specific CC license the work is under. If you are publishing on the Internet, it is nice if the license citation links to the license on the CC website.
  • If you are making a derivative work or adaptation, in addition to the above, you need to identify that your work is a derivative work i.e., “This is a Finnish translation of the [original work] by [author].” or “Screenplay based on [original work] by [author].”

In the case where a copyright holder does choose to specify the manner of attribution, in addition to the requirement of leaving intact existing copyright notices, they are only able to require certain things. Namely:

  • They may require that you attribute the work to a certain name, pseudonym or even an organization of some sort.
  • They may require you to associate/provide a certain URL (web address) for the work.

If you are interested to see what an actual license (“legalcode”) has to say about attribution, you can use the CC Attribution 3.0 Unported license as an example. Please note that this is only an example, and you should always read the appropriate section of the specific license in question … usually, but perhaps not always, section 4(b) or 4(c):


Source: Creative Commons Abbreviated FAQ, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

FFAQ - CC Wiki: How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work?

The full CC FAQ can be read here.

CC-SG Adopter: MusicArtLifeSg

Found this blog called MusicArtLifeSG that displayed a CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 SG license.

MusicArtLifeSg Blog by musicartlifesg.blogspot.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Singapore License

From its About page:

All in all, I hope that this blog will provide connections for future musicians in Singapore and Singaporean musicians to do collaborations with Singaporean and other artists from overseas across different disciplines in art forms. For inspirational musicians, it would be a platform for them to seek for music teachers/coaches/musicians to network and improve on their music.

The blog has a mix of announcements and reviews/ interviews of Singapore-based musicians (like this and this one).

MusicArtLifeSg (Beta changes in progress): 'Mi Lu Bing' Band Profile - The Milo-Bing Experience

Singapore rock band Lunarin invites remixes for their CC-licensed track


Singapore rock band Lunarin is a three-person outfit, who say they bang out “heavy art rock riffs in a hope to shock people“.

Yesterday, they officially announced that one track from their latest album, Duae (2010), is available for remixing under a BY-NC-SA license.

Extracted from their post, dated 10 Oct 2010, “Show us what you can do with The Sky (Algiers)”:

… Shortly after the album was released, we conducted a poll to ask people which was their favourite track off “Duae”. Interestingly enough, there was an overwhelming response in favour of The Sky (Algiers). We therefore decided to make The Sky (Algiers) available for free download for some of you peeps to take a shot at remixing it.

The file is available in Garage Band format and released under a Creative Commons License:

The Sky (Algiers)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.We would love for you to spend some time with this little song of ours and give it your own interpretation. Feel free to spread the link to your friends and disseminate it on your websites and blogs. Last but not least, we would love to hear the end product of what you’ve done. You can email us at lunarintheoracle@gmail.com .We would love to hear from you!

Lunarin | Home

The GarageBand file contains 16 individual track layers, i.e. vocals, guitars, bass, drums. Offers lots of possibilities for different styles, re-arrangement of tracks, effects applications and so on.

While there are Singapore musicians who have adopted CC licenses for their music, so far Lunarin is the only established (i.e. they have a real fan base) band who have provided a multi-track specifically for remixing.

Lunarin is:

  • Linda Ong – Bass, Vocals
  • Ho Kah Wye – Guitars
  • Loo Eng Teck – Drums, Vocals

Among the three, two of them are practicing lawyers and one holds a day job as an engineer :)

CC contribution: Macro Photography @ Kent Ridge Park (Singapore) set

Thanks to Stefano Virgilli (Creative Crew Singapore) for contributing this set of macro photography shots, taken at Kent Ridge Park (Singapore).

Macro Photography @ Kent Ridge Park (Singapore)

The photo set has been uploaded to Flickr, accessible here (flickr tags: stefano virgilli, creative crew, macrokent ridge park, singapore, flower, close-up, orange):

Stefano is no stranger to CC-SG. Thanks, and keep those CC submissions coming :)

The inaugural CC Salon Singapore

“CC Salons are open forums for people who are interested in the issues surrounding Creative Commons and global participatory culture. CC Salons are global, informal events focused on building a community of artists, developers, and creators of all kinds around Creative Commons licenses, standards, and technology.”
Source: wiki.creativecommons.org/Salon

DATE: Fri 25 Jun 2010
TIME: 7.30pm – 10.30pm
WHERE: HackerspaceSG, 70A Bussorah Street, Singapore 199483 (hackerspace.sg); gothere.sg map.
Indicate your attendance at the Facebook event page.

Presentation 1: “Sharing my Images with a CC license” by Preetam Rai (10 minutes)
Synopsis: Preetam talks about why he shares his photos under CC license and how people are reusing these images.
Preetam is a technologist and an  distinguished educator. He is always on the move, putting up open technology and culture events across Asia. (twitter: @preetamrai , web: preetamrai.com )

Presentation 2: “Marginalia: Giving books their social life” by Kevin Lim (10mins)
Synopsis: Kevin (theory.isthereason.com) will give a short presentation that discusses the tradition of “Marginalia”, that is notes and scribbles left behind in the margins of a used book. He will show how the printed text taps on this tradition to become “socially alive” online, through the use of open-source tools such as CommentPress and Digress.it. Augmented books tend to be licensed under CC, as they encourage user participation and co-creation.
Dr. Kevin Lim graduated with his PhD in Communication at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Dabbling for both pragmatic and play, he seeks an ideal interplay between online and offline life, through social networking, blogging and lifecasting.

Presentation 3: “Adobe After Effects demo: Creating animated words” by Stefano Virgilli (10mins)
Synopsis: Stefano will show how he animates words using Adobe After Effects. He will show how the videos can convey emotion from the animated words. After the demo, the completed project will be made available in HD format, under a CC license, at www.vox.sg/cc/video/pkw/index.html
Stefano has an Italian degree in communication design and moved to Singapore three and a half years ago. Since 2003 he has been teaching mostly 2D graphic design and photography post production. He now also specialises in video editing, 2D and 2.5D animation. He is a certified trainer and more about his training credentials can be found at lab.edu.sg

Presentation 4: “Creative Commons & The Opposing Innovation” by Inch Chua (10mins)
Synopsis: For a century, major record label companies have been monopolising the music industry. However the innovation of the Internet has spawned its greatest “leaderless” enemy, infamously known as Music Piracy. With such opposing innovation against the conventional Music Business System, it has become evident that musicians/ artists need to seek new ways to adapt to its changing environment. So why would Creative Commons licensing be the answer?
You might know Inch Chua by the popular upbeat alternative rock act Allura. Or you might have heard about her as being the first Singapore solo artist selected to perform at the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival. Her CC-licensed music can be downloaded from inchchua.bandcamp.com


  • HackerspaceSG – hackerspace.sg
  • Ruiwen, for venue arrangements at HackerspaceSG.

What happens at the CC Salon Singapore sessions?
You turn up, network, share and mingle. That’s it :) There will about 30mins to 45mins worth of CC-related sharing/ presentations. The rest of the time is really for you to get to know your fellow Creative Commoners better. For enquiries, please email the Creative Commons SG community manager, Ivan Chew (ramblinglibrarian@gmail.com)

Reference: CreativeCommonsSingapore wiki page.

CC-SG Adopter: Inch Chua

Thanks to Singapore musician, Inch Chua, for leaving us this comment:

Hello there! :) i’m a musician from singapore and all my works are under the CC licensing. and i’ve been actively promoting CC licensing for the [past] year or so. :)

Her music, licensed under a BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, can be downloaded from inchchua.bandcamp.com
Inch Chua

The Bedroom | Inch Chua

More about Inch:

You might know her from the popular upbeat alternative rock act Allura. Frontwoman Inch Chua steps out on her own to share a different beat. Inspired by singer-songwriters such as Fiona Apple, Roisin Murphy, Shiina Ringo and electronic acts like Bjork, The Aphex Twin, The Postal Service…

Her website is at www.inchchua.com (scroll to the bottom for links to her Twitter, Facebook, YouTube pages etc.)

Great stuff, her music!

Incidentally, Inch was the first Singapore solo artist selected to perform at the South By Southwest music festival (SXSW) – see this CNNgo.com article.