The content in this chapter on copyright and open licensing will be quite valuable in helping you understand your rights to use resources, and the authors’ rights as they pertain to your ability to adapt a work to your instructional needs. We understand that most faculty are very aware of copyright. We are emphasizing copyright in this chapter because making copies of a textbook or textbook chapter or resources found via the internet, not licensed for sharing, and sharing them with your students for free is not a sustainable model for success. We want the work that you do as a part of your move to using new resources to be sustainable. We don’t want you to one day click the link of a resource only to discover it is no longer available, thus causing you to scramble to find a replacement.

Almost all OER are licensed for you to revise to meet your course objectives and learner needs. We want you to understand copyright and open licensing with OER to ensure the text meets your student-centered learner needs, but also so you appropriately access and remix the text for long-term sustainable access. Understanding the copyright means you can link your students to the text in ways that are both appropriate, and ensure you don’t need to scramble for a last-minute replacement text.

icon of an open book Read

All sections of this chapter:

    • Introduction
    • Copyright Law
    • The Public Domain
    • Open Licenses

Located in the The OER Starter Kit Workbook in the chapter called Copyright and Open Licensing.


Upon completion of the readings, return to this page. 



icon of a streaming video play button  Watch

Attribution & Fair Use: Copyright in Open Education #1 (3m 46s).

Optional:  Want to know more about Creative Commons Licenses?

Creative Commons: Licensing Made Easy (2m 9s)

This video offers a brief description of the various copyright licenses offered by Creative Commons. This is the most straight forward video describing these licenses, even though it is told from the perspective of someone selecting a creative commons license for a work they created.

Visit the Creative Commons website for in-depth license information.


Upon completion of the videos, return to this page. 

icon of a person with their head propped up on their hands and a thought bubble overheadSomething to Ponder

When you adopt Creative Commons licensed OER you have a greater chance of it remaining available for student use and it is less susceptible to disappearing.

  • The following chapter will help you search for “open” content.  As you review resources, what will you look for to increase the likelihood those resources will be accessible semester after semester?
  • Consider recording those ideas in the document you created earlier called My OER Adoption Journey. Writing them down now will help you later when searching for OER to adopt.


Navigate to the next chapter called “Finding Open Content


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

The OER Adoption Journey Copyright © 2022 by nicolepfannenstiel; Kimberly Auger; and Matthew Fox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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