#GoOpenVA Administrator
Professional Learning
Material Type:
Reading, Visual Media
Graduate / Professional
#goopenva, Adding Resource, Copyright, Creating, Creative Commons, Creator, Linking, Links, Oer, Open License, PD, URL
Creative Commons Attribution
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Education Standards

#GoOpenVA Contributor: Need-to-Know Guide to Copyright Slides

#GoOpenVA Contributor: Need-to-Know Guide to Copyright Slides


This set of slides provides an overview of copyright issues that need to be considered by anyone who contributes to #GoOpenVA.  

Attched is a PowerPoint presentation to covers basic information about copyright for thsoe adding resources to #GoOpenVA.


Things Creators Need to Know About Copyright and Creative Commons


How to tell if a resource you found is © or CC?

  • If at a website, look for a link (usually at bottom of page) for COPYRIGHT or TERMS OF USE (TOU). Sometimes the copyright statement is quite buried or on a “mother” site, and requires much clicking.
  • Look at individual documents/images/etc. (if they are available) to see if these are marked.
  • Use CONTACT to email the site to ask.
  • Any site having no copyright notice must be assumed to be copyrighted (that is the default).
  • Public Domain (same as CC0) is OER.


Interpreting TERMS OF USE (TOU)

  • If say they are openly licensed but also say that you cannot modify or edit the materials in any way, it is NOT OER.  It is actually traditionally copyrighted even if they use the CC version of the traditional copyright (CC BY NC ND).
  • Beware of those who only say they support “Fair Use.” Basically, they are pushing all liability to the user (you).  Fair Use requires a judgement call on the part of the user which can be disputed in court by the copyright owner.  When at all possible don’t rely on Fair Use (which also doesn’t support many modern digital uses of materials).
  • Watch out for statements that resources can’t be shared digitally.  There are fewer of those these days but they are still around.


Adding OER created by others to #GoOpenVA

  • Option 1: Add a link (using Submit from Web option).  This is the least teacher-friendly option; teacher must pursue link to find resource and must copy/paste it themselves if they want to edit.
  • Option 2: Create a resource using Open Author editor, and add a link to the outside resource. Provide context for the use of the resource being linked to. A little more helpful for teachers, but they still must pursue the link and copy/paste it themselves.
  • Option 3: Create a resource using Open Author editor and copy/paste the resource into the text boxes.  This takes longer.  However, it is most helpful to teachers, as it puts the resource right into the system where it can easily be adapted. BUT Attribution to the original source is a MUST!


Considerations when choosing how to add

  • When a site hosts a resource that is edited by the original creator on a regular basis, having a link means you get the latest version.
  • When a site uses animations or other types of embedded programming code, it is more complex to copy/paste.
  • When the site requires a login (FREE) to access the resource, you can only link. This is not a great option, because having to log in to another site slows down a teacher in a hurry.


How to use © materials in your own OER

  • Use a link to the material on the site where it resides.  DO NOT COPY it into your document. 
  • Make sure the site does not require a subscription or payment.
  • Never use a scan of a © image/document that you have only in paper form
  • Provide a statement that the material being linked to is traditionally copyrighted and may not be edited. This provides clarity for teachers who are rushed, and keeps them from unintentionally violating copyright law. 


Remember the point

  • OER supports teachers working to customize teaching materials for their students.
  • #GoOpenVA exists to make this easy for teachers to do—ALL our resources are able to be adapted.  Teachers do not need to worry about copyright issues when using materials from our site.
  • #GoOpenVA points to FREE and educationally sound resources that support research-based approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Don’t add resources without adding context and/or mentoring notes. WHY use this resource instead of another? HOW does the teacher use this resource to evoke deeper learning? Providing this information upfront gives teachers a head start on their own decision-making about which materials to use. It also provides them insight from other teachers, providing pedagogical support and the opportunity for growth.



A Beginner’s Guide To Copyright And Creative Commons (Simple Explanation For Teachers And Students) (shorter)


The Educator’s Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons (longer)