Not as Scary as You Think!

Friday Valentine, MLS

Digital Assets Curator, Chemeketa Community College, Salem OR

Photo credit: Martin Fisch (CC:BY),

The Scary Stuff

  • I am not a lawyer
  • Legal counsel at your institution: not your lawyer
  • You can be held responsible for violations

Instructional Content & Copyright

Public Domain

Open Educational Resources

Fair Use/Educational Exception


Licensed (Fee)



Copyright Basics

Assume works published after 1923 are copyrighted.

Works are in copyright when they are published.

The copyright mark (©) is NOT required to prove a work is copyrighted.

Posting on an open/public website is considered published.

Determining copyright

Copyright note * Author byline

Image caption/alt text

Opening/closing of the video (credits)



Example: Finding information about copyright

Photo credit, ARS screenshot by FKV

Public Domain (check pages for disclaimers)

USDA ARS Image Gallery

CDC Public Health Image Library

National Gallery of Art Images

Links page of federal image databases


Photo credit: Space shuttle Atlantis, NASA,

A special note on Youtube

  • Look at who uploaded the content
    • user “monkey420” is probably not the copyright holder

  • Look for reputable creators who do host channels
    • PBS (PBSNewsHour), BBC (BBCNews), Science Channel
  • Contact Library/Media for more help

Photo credit, Youtube screenshot by FKV

Author’s Rights

Know the copyright rules of your contract/organization.

Read publishing contracts (you can negotiate!)

Chat with your Scholarly Communication staff for more information (often a Librarian or Grants person.)

Please consider sharing your work

(OER/Repository/Creative Commons)


Need something? ASK for permission.

Attribution is NOT permission.

Citation is NOT permission.

Contact your Legal Counsel for permission letter templates.

Keep copies of all permissions correspondence.

Photo credit, Catkin (public domain),

Educational exception (ex: use of video)

The educational exception to copyright law applies to the physical classroom

Fair Use and the educational exception are often conflated

The educational exception applies to performance or display, not copies for the students

Fair Use

The Fair Use doctrine means portions of a work can be used on a temporary (single term) basis.

Permission to use an item should be obtained if the desired use of a work is long-term (or the whole work).

For Fair Use works, be cautious and remember to consider any monetary value you are taking away from the creator.

NOT Fair Use (when uploading into the LMS)

* Using the whole journal article

* Using the whole poem

* Using the whole song

* Using the whole video

* Using the item over and over and over and over and over…

LINKING OUT to content is OK

Open Educational Resources

“Free and open resources”

(not to be confused with resources you can use for free through the Library or Fair Use/Education Exception)

Look for Public Domain

or Creative Commons

licensing terms

Photo credit: Johnathasmello (CC:BY);


  • Licensing is paying or making arrangements with the creator/copyright holder to use the item (usually for a specific period of time as well.)
  • Electronic resources available through your Library have been licensed for the campus community.
  • Always check your licenses/contracts/terms-of-service for restrictions. Example: personal streaming accounts should NOT be used in the classroom (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.)
  • Annenberg Learner video titles are public but need licensing

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that has developed the legal structure to promote the use of copyrighted works without payment (like OER).

Copyright holders assign these licenses to their creations.

Photo credit: Creative Commons:

Creative Commons Licenses

Copyright holders assign these licenses to their creations.

  • Public Domain, CC0
  • Attribution, CC BY
  • Attribution-ShareAlike, CC BY-SA
  • Attribution-NoDerivs, CC BY-ND
  • Attribution-NonCommercial, CC BY-NC
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, CC BY-NC-SA
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike-NoDeriv, CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit, Creative Commons (PD),

OER & Repositories

Happy as a Cat in a Box

  • Ask For Permission
  • Use Fair Use
  • Use Open Resources
  • Use the Educational Exception (F2F)
  • Get Support (Library, Media, Distance Education)

Photo credit: Ian Ruotsala (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0),

Thank you for attending!

NWeLearn copyright presentation-redacted - Google Slides