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OER Faculty Guide

Creative Commons License

What are Creative Commons Licenses?

Creative Commons licenses allow creators to give others the right to use their work, and to choose which restrictions (if any) they want to place on that use. It's like granting copyright permission in advance. The licenses range from the completely unrestricted CC0 license, which allows anyone to do anything with the work without giving credit for it, to the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license (CC BY-NC-ND), which requires attribution and prohibits derivative works and commercial use. Open educational resources  often have the simple Attribution license (CC BY), which allows users to distribute, remix, and adapt the work, even for commercial purposes, as long as the creator is given attribution.

CC License Chart

Copyright and Fair Use

Legal use of copyrighted materials is a very important consideration for educators. Whether you want to share an article with your students, provide a "course pack" of assorted materials as a textbook replacement, use an Open "OER" Textbook, or need quality images for a PowerPoint presentation, the question of what's acceptable use can be confusing. Consider the following when making a decision to use these materials. 

  • Is the work in public domain?
  • Is the work open licensed?
  • Is the work online?
  • Does your intended use fall under Fair Use?  See Kirkwood Library's guide to fair use for more information on how to apply fair use to your situation.
  • Ask for permission
  • Pay copyright holder for use

Adapted from: "Open Textbooks, OER & Other Open or Free Resources for Faculty: Copyright & Fair Use." Kirkwood Community College