Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that created a set of simple, easy-to-understand copyright licenses. These are legally enforceable licenses that are meant to be simple to implement and easy for the average person to understand, and can be used to provide access to creative work in a standardized fashion.
Supplementing your existing copyright with a Creative Commons license can help you manage your copyrights and share your works without losing your rights. What, though, are some of the specific benefits to you as a creator of artistic or scholarly works?
Embedding CC licenses into web content means it will be discoverable by CC searches, providing more exposure for you as a creator and for your work. For scholarly works, this can lead to more citations.
By mixing and matching the different CC license attributes (i.e. NC, ND, SA), you can encourage those uses you want without the hassle of permissions. For example, if you want other users to be able to reinterpret your work as long as they don't use it for any commercial endeavors, you could use a CC BY-NC license. There is even a CC-license creator that allows you to pick which attributes you'd like to include using plain language.
You can allow others to either build upon, remix, or reinterpret your work and research while retaining credit for your contributions. This helps to foster a community of shared culture and scholarly research.
Finally, if you're involved in instruction, CC licenses can be especially helpful when developing or sharing course materials. You can find and share learning tools, lesson plans, and more with other educators through CC licensing and searching.
Remember that adding a Creative Commons license to your work doesn't take the place of the copyright that you already hold. For more information on Creative Commons licenses and copyright, please see https://creativecommons.org/