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Open Educational Resources: Copyright

This guide is designed for FSCJ faculty to discover learning objects and other open educational resources. Faculty will also find information on adding and uploading content to share with colleagues.

What is Copyright?

Copyright and the United States

Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

"The Congress shall have power...To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries..."

What is Fair Use?

Copyright on Campus

Copyright for Students

What Can Be Used?

FSCJ takes the issues of copyright very seriously and ensures that the college is protected against breaking Federal Copyright Laws in developing, packaging, and delivering courses.

There are three general categories of content that can be used: original content, copyrighted content with permission, and public domain/ creative commons content.

Original Content

This is any multimedia item that you made yourself. It is your own content without borrowing any unauthorized materials. This can include images you took, videos you recorded of yourself or of an activity, or a podcast you recorded yourself. If there are other people, including and especially students, you MUST have their express written permission to use their image. 

Copyrighted Content

This is any multimedia item that was created by someone other than you. You will need to obtain the express written permission from the copyright holder (remember: this could be different from the author of the content).  This means you MUST obtain a student's express written permission before you use any portion of the student's work.

Public Domain/ Creative Commons Content

Public Domain content is any multimedia item that was created by someone other than you for which the copyright has expired or never existed in the first place. Many government (.gov) websites fall into this category, but some DO have copyright restrictions. Be sure to double check.

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. The licenses provided are NOT an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable the copyright holder to modify the terms of their copyright to best suit their needs. You MUST abide by the copyright holder's terms for sharing, adapting, attributing, deriving works, and any other additional restrictions.

Find more information about Creative Commons licenses at

Other "Stuff" That Can Be Used

We call them "Nearly Free Multimedia Resources." These can be used as long as proper attribution is applied, however each service has its own attribution standards. You will need to review each resource before submitting it to the multimedia team. In addition, the college will not use any video resource without proper captioning.

Providing a hyperlink to a resource is an acceptable way to avoid the problem of copyright, however, you will need to consider accessibility issues as well as the stability of the source. 

Copyright Training

Copyright Training for Librarians and Educators

This course offered through Coursera was created by Duke Univeristy, Emory University, and the Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Course length: The time commitment is approximately 2-3 hours per week.  The content consists of videos, readings, graded assignments and quizzes. 


Week 1 - Welcome to Copyright Law

Week 2 - A Framework for Thinking about Copyright

Week 3 - Owning Rights

Week 4 - Specific Exceptions for Teachers and Librarians

Week 5 - Understanding and Using Fair Use