For online works, you apply a Creative Commons license to a work by selecting the license that suits your preferences. Once you have selected your license, and if you are applying it to an online work, follow the instructions to include the html code in your work. This code will automatically generate a license button and a statement that your work is licensed under a Creative Commons license, or a CC0 or public domain button if you choose to dedicate your work to the public domain or certify that a work is in the public domain via one of our public domain tools. These buttons are designed to act as a notice to people who come in contact with your work that your work is licensed under the applicable Creative Commons license or is in the public domain. The html code will also include the metadata that enables your work to be found via Creative Commons-enabled search engines. The only difference between applying a Creative Commons license to an offline work and applying it to an online work is that offline works will not include the metadata and, consequently, will not be identified via Creative Commons-customized search engines. No, Creative Commons licenses should not be applied to works in the public domain. Our licenses are intended for works protected by copyright only. Our deeds now state this unambiguously: "Public Domain -- where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license. However, if you incorporate a work that is in the public domain into a collection that is itself protected by copyright, then you may apply a Creative Commons license to the work as a collection, although the license will not affect the status of public domain work.
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