Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Creative Commons Requirement

Answer: The CC licensing agreement on SkillsCommons is a separate requirement for submissions to the Repository. In addition, each individual item is required to have a CC BY license on it prior to uploading to SkillsCommons.

Please visit our Creative Commons Licensing Guidelines page for more information.


Answer: If applicable, the following needs to be on all products developed in whole or in part with grant funds, “This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership.”

Retrieved 12/5/2014 from: http://doleta.gov/grants/pdf/SGA-DFA-PY-10-03.pdf pg. 15.


Answer: Unless a grantee receives permission from the licensee to upload the purchased content to SkillsCommons, all proprietary material must be removed before uploading it to SkillsCommons. A grantee may put a statement that says what the proprietary material is and ideally a link to where others can find it from the publisher and arrange for their own rights to use.


Answer: The reason there are so many CC licensing choices in the submission process came about as a result of working with grantees in the early stages of development of the SkillsCommons metadata around the issue of being able to select different types of licenses for materials that were not licensed with a CC-BY license. For example, learning objects developed by the grantees themselves outside of the TAACCCT grant, or material used by the grantees that was developed by others and made available under a Creative Commons (or similar) license.

We think it’s wise to give the grantees the option of uploading these materials along with their other learning resources. However, we think it’s best to limit this only to material offered under any of the various Creative Commons licenses. Grantees will need to ensure that these materials include the reference to the appropriate CC license, just as they need to do that with the CC BY License for the TAACCCT materials themselves.”

To be clear, all proprietary material must be removed before uploading content to SkillsCommons. However, we think it’s valuable to end users to see all of the materials used in these courses, even if some of it is commercial. For this reason, we added a repeatable field to the learning resource metadata schema to allow grantees to link to the website where these resources can be obtained.

Grantees may put a statement that says what the proprietary material is and ideally a link to where others can find it from the publisher and arrange for their own rights to use.


Answer: You are only required to apply the CC-BY license to the course content developed with TAACCCT grant funds and then upload these content to SkillsCommons. In addition, if the previously created content was modified with TAACCCT grant funds, the revised content must be released with a CC-BY license and uploaded to SkillsCommons.

In the spirit of OER, grantees are encouraged to apply CC-BY license the entire course and upload it to SkillsCommons. This will provide wider recognition of your efforts. You can also apply alternative Creative Commons licenses to the previously create content (e.g. CC-BY-SA) that might be more acceptable to the authors of the content. Adding Creative Commons licenses and uploading the content to SkillsCommons provide opportunities for a wider audience to review, use, and build on your work.

If you do not upload the previously created content, it would be very helpful if you included a description of the additional resources used in your course so that people reviewing your submitted resources have a better understanding of the entire course context and content.


Answer: According to the SGA, the Department considers curricula, course materials, teacher guides, and other products developed with grant funds to be considered grant deliverables.  Many of these items were identified in each grantee’s statement of work as deliverables and to be submitted to the Department according to the workplan or prior to the end of the period of performance. Additional materials not identified in the original statement of work but produced with grant funding should also be uploaded to SkillsCommons. For example, if recruitment and outreach materials, student support materials, supplemental instructional materials, etc. was produced with grant funding, you should upload these materials as well.

Retrieved 6/10/2016 from: http://www.doleta.gov/grants/pdf/SGA-DFA-PY-13-10.pdf pgs. 54 (.iii) & 75 (4).


Answer: Creative Commons licenses are designed for content and not software code so you won’t add the Creative Commons license to the software code.  All software code should have documentation to describe the software code structure and strategy and the software documentation developed with TAACCCT grant funding must have the CC-BY license and DOL disclaimer in the document.

Creative Commons has recommendations on their FAQ page about open licensing of software code that we recommend as well. Please see: Can I Apply a Creative Commons License to Software?

“We recommend against using Creative Commons licenses for software. Instead, we strongly encourage you to use one of the very good software licenses which are already available. We recommend considering licenses made available by the Free Software Foundation or listed as “open source” by the Open Source Initiative.

Unlike software-specific licenses, CC licenses do not contain specific terms about the distribution of source code, which is often important to ensuring the free reuse and modifiability of software. Many software licenses also address patent rights, which are important to software but may not be applicable to other copyrightable works. Additionally, our licenses are currently not compatible with the major software licenses, so it would be difficult to integrate CC-licensed work with other free software. Existing software licenses were designed specifically for use with software and offer a similar set of rights to the Creative Commons licenses.

Version 4.0 of CC’s Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) license is one-way compatible with the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3). This compatibility mechanism is designed for situations in which content is integrated into software code in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to distinguish the two. There are special considerations required before using this compatibility mechanism. Read more about it here.

Also, the CC0 Public Domain Dedication is GPL-compatible and acceptable for software. For details, see the relevant CC0 FAQ entry.

While we recommend against using a CC license on software itself, CC licenses may be used for software documentation, as well as for separate artistic elements such as game art or music.”


Answer: Grantees cannot put a CC BY license on works that are purchased from iStock or other sources, as they are not the creator or rights holder. So, if grantees are mixing these works with new content that are being authored then a statement needs to be included that states: “Except where otherwise noted these materials are licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY).”Then, wherever the proprietary, purchased material is used it must be stated that there is a copyright for example, “Photo title x © iStock used with permission.” A grantee can indicate how others can also find and purchase the rights to use it if they want.


Answer: Advanced Manufacturing Partnerships in Education in New Hampshire (AMPed NH) has submitted good examples of documents with CC BY licensing on them to the Repository. You can review their submissions here: http://www.skillscommons.org/handle/taaccct/223


Answer: Yes. The CC BY license allows commercial use. So for example businesses you’ve partnered with can also potentially use the course materials for staff or customer training.


Answer: A full description of all Creative Commons licenses can be found here: About The CC Licenses. As you will see there are other Creative Commons licenses that don’t allow others to make commercial use of works. However, for TAACCCT DOL has mandated that all works created with grant funds must be licensed CC BY, you cannot choose other Creative Commons licenses. The primary rationale here is that TAACCCT grant funds are public taxpayer money and the public (including businesses) should have access and rights to use what it has paid for.


Answer: Yes, grant funds can be used to purchase iStock and other stock photos, illustrations, music, and videos for course and promotional materials. However, SkillsCommons recommends free, openly licensed alternatives, which are readily available for many cases – see One-Stop-Shop for OER.