21 Apply a License

As you prepare to publish your book, you should consider how to manage your copyrights, and what rights you want to keep or grant to others. The way you can grant rights to others is by applying a license. Before you apply a license to your work, be sure to confirm first that you hold the copyright for your book, since your affiliation with JMU determines what you own (JMU Policy 1107). If you are remixing Creative Commons licensed content, be sure you are applying licenses correctly.

Pressbooks allows you to select any (or no) license at a page, chapter, or book level. You will be able to choose from the full suite of Creative Commons licenses, which allow copyright owners to retain copyright but grant certain rights to copy, distribute, etc., depending on the copyright owner’s preferences. Creative Commons licenses also specify that anyone who uses your work must attribute you as the owner. Check out the Creative Commons Choose Your License Tool for help selecting a license.

As you’re choosing whether to apply a license, you should keep in mind a number of benefits about selecting a Creative Commons License:

  • Increased citation and impact: Choosing Creative Commons licenses that promote re-use of your work by others means that your book is likely to get wider readership and accrue greater citations. Readers feel more comfortable reading and citing works that clearly allow them to make various uses.
  • Increased discoverability: Choosing a Creative Commons license that allows the creation of derivative works is the only way to get your book listed in the Open Textbook Library, which can greatly enhance how easy your book is to find.


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JMU Libraries Pressbooks Guidelines Copyright © 2020 by JMU Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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