Founded in 2001 with the generous support of the Center for the Public Domain, CC is led by a Board of Directors comprised of thought leaders, education experts, technologists, legal scholars, investors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.

Creative Commons licenses

In December 2002, Creative Commons released its first set of copyright licenses for free to the public. Creative Commons developed its licenses — inspired in part by the Free Software Foundation’s GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) — alongside a Web application platform to help you license your works freely for certain uses, on certain conditions; or dedicate your works to the public domain. In the years following the initial release, Creative Commons and its licenses have grown at an exponential rate around the world. The licenses have been further improved, and ported to over 50 jurisdictions.


Since 2005, Creative Commons has undertaken projects to build commons-based infrastructure for science through identifying and lowering unnecessary barriers to research, crafting policy guidelines and legal agreements, and developing technology to make research, data and materials easier to find and use.


Creative Commons also works to minimize legal, technical, and social barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials, with dedicated projects in this field since starting in 2007.

Global infrastructure for sharing

Creative Commons licenses, public domain tools, and supporting technologies have become the global standard for sharing across culture, education, government, science, and more.



  • Creative Commons founded.



  • Approximately 1 million licenses in use.


  • Estimated 4.7 million licensed works by the end of the year.
  • Version 2.0 released.


  • Estimated 20 million works.
  • Version 2.5 released.
  • Science projects at Creative Commons launched.


  • Estimated 50 million licensed works.




  • Estimated 350 million CC licensed works.
  • CC0 launched.
  • Wikipedia migrates to CC Attribution-ShareAlike as its main content license.