Many of the licenses, notably all the original licenses, grant certain "baseline rights", such as the right to distribute the copyrighted work without changes, at no charge. Some of the newer licenses do not grant these rights.
Creative Commons licenses are currently available in 43 different jurisdictions worldwide, with more than nineteen others under development. Licenses for jurisdictions outside of the United States are under the purview of Creative Commons International.
The original set of licenses all grant the "baseline rights". The details of each of these licenses depends on the version, and comprises a selection of four conditions:
Mixing and matching these conditions produces sixteen possible combinations, of which eleven are valid Creative Commons licenses. Of the five invalid combinations, four include both the "nd" and "sa" clauses, which are mutually exclusive; and one includes none of the clauses. The five of the eleven valid licenses that lack the Attribution element have been phased out because 98% of licensors requested Attribution, but are still available for viewing on the website. There are thus six regularly used licenses:
Work licensed under a Creative Commons Licenses is protected by copyright applicable law. This allows Creative Commons licenses to be applied to all work protected by copyright law, including: books, plays, movies, music, articles, photographs, blogs, websites.
However, the license may not modify the rights allowed by fair use or fair dealing or exert restrictions which violate copyright exceptions. Furthermore, Creative Commons Licenses are non-exclusive non-revocable. Any work or copies of the work obtained under a Creative Commons license may continue to be used under that license.
In the case of works protected by multiple Creative Common Licenses, the user may choose either.
A number of additional licenses have been introduced, which are more specialized:
Besides licenses, Creative Commons also offers an easy way to release material into the public domain through the Public Domain Dedication, as well as Founder's Copyright, through which the work is released into the public domain after 14 or 28 years.
Due to either disuse or criticism, a number of previously offered Creative Commons licenses has since been retired, and are no longer recommended for new works. The retired licenses include all licenses lacking the Attribution element other than the Public Domain Dedication, as well as two licenses not allowing non-commercial copying:
The maintainers of Debian GNU/Linux, a Linux distribution known for its adherence to software freedom, do not believe that even the Creative Commons Attribution License, the least restrictive of the licenses, adheres to the Debian Free Software Guidelines due to the license's anti-DRM provisions (which could restrict private redistribution to some extent) and its requirement in section 4a that downstream users remove an author's credit upon request from the author. As the other licenses are identical to the Creative Commons Attribution License with further restrictions, Debian considers them non-free for the same reasons. There have been efforts to remove these problems in the new version 3.0 licenses, so they can be compatible with the DFSG. As of July 2007, it remains to be seen if version 3 of the Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike licenses will be approved by Debian.
The Free Software Foundation accepts the CC-BY v2.0 and the CC-BY-SA v2.0 Creative Commons licenses as being free, though not recommending it for software, but explains that it is vital to avoid the problem with the overly vague statement "I use a Creative Commons license" , without noting the actual license. Richard Stallman has criticised particular licenses for not allowing the freedom to make verbatim copies of the work for noncommercial purposes, and said that he no longer supported Creative Commons as an organisation, as the licenses no longer all had this freedom in common. Creative Commons have since retired these licenses, and no longer recommends their use.
The case hinges on privacy, the right of people not to have their likeness used in an ad without permission. So, while Mr. Wong may have given away his rights as a photographer, he did not, and could not, give away Alison's rights. In the lawsuit, which Mr. Wong is also a party to, there is an argument that Virgin did not honor all the terms of the nonrestrictive license.