When a copyright owner releases work under a license, the license and copyright laws work hand-in-hand to protect the work.  A license is a contract that defines how one may use the work.  The copyright owner is assigning one or more rights to the user.  When a work is licensed the user must abide by the terms of the license.  Licenses come in many forms, but each defines how a user may use the copyrighted work and exactly what a user can do with the copyrighted work.

Many of the materials available through the online databases from the university libraries have been licensed for use in online or hybrid courses. Check with your subject matter librarian for mare details.

Many materials available online have licenses specific to the source the information. YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes are examples of this.  Be sure to follow the requirements of the license of the site that you retrieve your materials from.

Software and apps are generally issued with a license that describes the rights and responsibilities of the person purchasing or using the software.  Be sure to read and abide by the conditions of the license, since the license can override basic copyright law.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a set of licenses that can be applied to copyrighted materials by users who want to retain the copyright on the materials but allow their work to be used by others.  Creative Commons licenses provide an easy way to manage the copyright terms that attach automatically to all creative material under copyright. CC licenses allow that material to be shared and reused under terms that are flexible and legally sound. Creative Commons offers a core suite of six copyright licenses. Because there is no single "Creative Commons license," it is important to identify which of the six licenses you are applying to your material, which of the six licenses has been applied to material that you intend to use, and in both cases the specific version.

All Creative Commons licenses require that users provide attribution (BY) to the creator when the material is used and shared. Some licensors choose the BY license, which requires attribution to the creator as the only condition to reuse of the material. The other five licenses combine BY with one or more of three additional license elements: NonCommercial (NC), which prohibits commercial use of the material; NoDerivatives (ND), which prohibits the sharing of adaptations of the material; and ShareAlike (SA), which requires adaptations of the material be released under the same license.

CC licenses may be applied to any type of work, including educational resources, music, photographs, databases, government and public sector information, and many other types of material. The only categories of works for which CC does not recommend its licenses are computer software and hardware. 


Creative Commons FAQ: Frequently asked questions that clarify the use and application of Creative Commons licenses.


Creative Commons

Content in Creative Commons section is Copyright © Creative Commons. It has been adapted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.  Original Material: