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The Creative Commons license logo.

The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license is the license under which Scratch projects are all published. In non-legal, easy terminology, this means that anyone can remix and edit anybody else's published projects without penalty. By publishing a Scratch project on the Scratch website, the user automatically agrees to the terms of the Creative Commons License. The Creative Commons license is still a form of copyright but is more flexible for developers.

About the License

A snippet of the legal terms of the Creative Commons License, Attribution 2.5.
All Creative Commons licenses have many important features in common. Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially. Every Creative Commons license also ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. Every Creative Commons license works around the world and lasts as long as applicable copyright lasts (because they are built on copyright). These common features serve as the baseline, on top of which licensors can choose to grant additional permissions when deciding how they want their work to be used.

A Creative Commons licensor answers a few simple questions on the path to choosing a license — first, do I want to allow commercial use or not, and then second, do I want to allow derivative works or not? If a licensor decides to allow derivative works, she may also choose to require that anyone who uses the work — we call them licensees — to make that new work available under the same license terms. We call this idea “ShareAlike” and it is one of the mechanisms that (if chosen) helps the digital commons grow over time. ShareAlike is inspired by the GNU General Public License, used by many free and open source software projects.

Our licenses do not affect freedoms that the law grants to users of creative works otherwise protected by copyright, such as exceptions and limitations to copyright law like fair dealing. Creative Commons licenses require licensees to get permission to do any of the things with a work that the law reserves exclusively to a licensor and that the license does not expressly allow. Licensees must credit the licensor, keep copyright notices intact on all copies of the work, and link to the license from copies of the work. Licensees cannot use technological measures to restrict access to the work by others.

– Creative Commons website, 9/12/2016

Fair Use Doctrine

Scratch, since it claims to be under the Fair Use doctrine, allows the use of copyrighted materials, even when published, since the site is for educational and non-profit purposes. This means that, for instance, Nintendo's famous Mario character can legally be used in a Scratch project published online because of the Fair Use doctrine. There was an incident, however, in 2011 with Namco in 2011 that created some dispute. The Creative Commons license supports the Fair Use doctrine.

2. Fair Use Rights. Nothing in this license is intended to reduce, limit, or restrict any rights arising from fair use, first sale or other limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner under copyright law or other applicable laws.

– Creative Commons Legal Code Attribution 2.5

See Also