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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Licensing Considerations

Understanding U.S. Copyright law can be challenging, especially in the digital environment. Exemptions exist for classroom teaching, libraries, and online learning, but these can be tricky to figure out and apply properly. Instead, one option is to use works in the public domain, which do not need permission for use. Another option is to use Creative Commons licensing, which offers varying degrees of permissions. The advent of authors applying Creative Commons licenses to their works has greatly broadened the availability of creative, original works which may be used with attribution as designated by their authors.

Copyright at SDCCD

Copyright, Fair Use, and the TEACH Act

Much has been written about Copyright, Fair Use, and the TEACH Act as court cases interpret and reinterpret their applications. See the following web pages and documents (contents of these items do overlap) for more information:

What is Open Licensing?

This presentation by Open Oregon explains what open licensing is and why it's so important to the OER movement. (6:35 minutes)

What is Creative Commons (CC)?

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. 

From Open Educational Resources (OER) libguide by Heather Blicher

Can I Use That? A Guide to Creative Commons

book cover for OER Can I Use ThatCan I Use That? is a handbook on how to teach students about Creative Commons.

See also the website Unlock Media Literacy 

Creative Commons License Symbols

Creative Commons licenses help creators retain copyright while defining the terms on which others may use their work.

Graphic depicting most free to least free CC licensing

How Do I Create an Attribution for an Openly-Licensed Work?

Here are some examples of how to acknowledge the author of a Creative Commons work:

From Open Educational Resources (OER) libguide by Heather Blicher

What is Public Domain?

The term "public domain" encompasses materials for which:

  • The copyright has expired;
  • The copyright owner has intentionally and explicitly "dedicated" it to the public domain;
  • The copyright owner did not follow copyright renewal rules; or
  • Copyright law does not protect (such as works created by U.S. Government employees during the course of their employment, and works that cannot by copyrighted (such as ideas, common knowledge, data points etc.))

Public domain is different than "publicly accessible" or "free online." Read more about the public domain here.

From Open Educational Resources (OER) libguide by Heather Blicher

Guides to Public Domain Resources

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