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Copyright, Open Access, Fair Use & Public Domain

Copyright in Higher Education


In a world of ubiquitous digital access, ease of duplication and distribution of information, help to ensure the ethical use of creative media and information resources in teaching through copyright compliance! Model good digital citizenship for your students!

Navigating the spectrum of rights and responsibilities: 
  • Create your own media (avoid worry about infringing on someone else’s copyright!) 
  • Search for public domain media (avoid worry about copyright, since it has been voluntarily released or has expired. No worries about giving proper attribution or citing the source either!) 
  • Search within the Creative Commons domain (make sure you double check requirements under the license: attribution?, non-derivative? non-commercial? etc.)
  • Determine if your use of the copyrighted material can fall under Fair Use (make sure you're within the bounds of permissible use)
  • Obtain permission (avoid worry about liability and financial penalties!)

Adapted from the “Copyright Flowchart” infographic created by Meryl Zeidenberg and Silvia Tolisano. Retrieved from: