Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Waidner-Spahr Library

Open Educational Resources (OER): Copyright & Licensing

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational material that are freely available to use, share, adapt, and reuse.

Introduction to Open Licensing

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons licenses give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. CC licenses help creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work. You can often find copyright information at the bottom of webpages. Creative Commons licensed material sometimes display clickable icons that indicate the details of the license. The icons often look like this: 

Creative Commons: Some Rights Reserved

When you apply a Creative Commons License to your work, you get to specify the terms upon which others can use your work. The chart below explains the different Creative Commons licenses and what the licenses allow others to do with your work. 

Fair Use

The "Fair Use Doctrine" (Section 107 of the Copyright Act) allows a limited amount of copying for purposes such as teaching and scholarship. In determining whether the use made of a work in a particular case is a Fair Use, the factors to be considered include:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;

  • The nature of the copyrighted work;

  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright work as a whole; and

  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

For more information about Fair Use, check out our Copyright & Scholarly Communication guide

Can I Use It?