As a user and creator of copyrighted works, you have a lot to gain and give when knowledge and creative works are openly shared. Sharing a work with an open license means you are making your work available for uses beyond those normally allowed by copyright law. If you know you want to allow people to use your work in a way that normally requires permission under copyright law, you can proactively license the work so that they do not need to seek permission from you.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that gives you the legal tools you need to grant others permission to use your work under the conditions of your choice. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but work alongside it, allowing you to keep your copyrights while permitting others to make certain uses of your work. You can choose to permit or deny commercial (for profit) uses of your work, the modification of your work to create a new work, and whether or not any new works that use your work have to be licensed under the same terms that you chose.
Once you have learned more about the licenses Creative Commons offers, you can select the license you want for each of your works. Using the license chooser tool, you can generate code that you can easily embed into a web page. Creative Commons also has tutorials for marking your works with a license notice in a variety of other formats.