Overview of Digital Storytelling Tools and Techniques

Creative Commons Licenses

Creators who want to grant permission to use their works while preserving ownership rights often use Creative Commons licenses. These special copyright licenses take the guess work out of everything and specifically indicate how someone can copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work.

There are six main licenses which indicate terms of usage from credit, to commercial use, to licensing use. For instance the main license is called Attribution CC BY
This license lets others to use, distribute or change a copyrighted work (even commercially) as long as they credit the creator. The Creative Commons website offers many creative commons licensed photographs, music, clips art, ect.

There are many other internet sites that allow for creative commons licensed fair-use of copyright material.
The Free Music Archive (the “FMA” or “Archive”) is an interactive library of creative commons licensed audio downloads for public use.

When it comes to local art, music and photographs. You may be able to ask permission from the local artist to use their work. More often than not local artists will grant permission.

Works that you have created are also subject to copyright. Publishing agreements may assign or license a broad range of rights to the publisher.
When it comes to traditional music in the public domain, you must be aware of two forms of copyright:

  1. The copyright of the composer which if in the public domain is free of copyright.
  2. The copyright of the recording which even if in the public domain is not free of copyright.

If you use a recording from a public domain or traditional song without permission of the artist you may be found guilty of copyright infringement.

We have included a letter which you can use to request permission to use a song from the artist (see Appendix A).


Copyright is important to consider when using elements of creative works to tell a story.

If we are found in breach of copyright we may be asked by the copyright holder to take down a digital story from a website or prohibited from publicly screening the digital story.

Concordia University Policy on
Copyright Compliance (PDF)
Canadian Copyright Act
Copyright Modernization Act
Canadian Library Association
Copyright Information Centre
Digital Images and Copyright
Educational Rights Collective of Canada
Canada: http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/ccl/aboutCopyright.html
America: http://www.shockwavesound.com/Articles/010_Copyrights_in_Public_Domain_