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Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs. -- From Creative Commons website

Creative Commons Video

Choosing and Using Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons Licenses

More About Creative Commons

A Creative Commons license lets creators decide which rights they would like to keep, and it clearly conveys to those using their work how they’re permitted to use it without asking the creator in advance. Ideally, OER content includes the least restrictive Creative Commons license, CC-BY, which only requires proper attribution. Users are otherwise permitted to copy, distribute, and adapt the work as they like.

Tammy Ravas, Visual and Performing Arts Librarian and Media Coordinator, provides excellent additional information about Creative Commons and copyright issues in her library guides: Public Domain and Creative Commons: A Guide to Works You Can Use Freely and Copyright Issues and Resources.

Can I use what I find in an OER repository, and how?

Most OERs will include a license available for you to view, describing what you can do with the resource you find.  Most of these licenses are Creative Commons licenses.  Creative Commons and other OER licenses allow both the consumer and the creator legal protections and permissions. Some examples are below. 

The highlighted portion at the bottom contains information and a link to the license.  As long as a person uses this item for non-commercial purposes and provides proper attribution, the item can be used/reused by other instructors.  

This item does not have a Creative Commons license, but is covered by copyright.  Fair Use could govern a reuse of the material, or you could contact the creator for permission to use the item.  See the Mansfield Library copyright guide for more information.  


CC-BY logo

This page on the University of Montana (UM) Library Research Guide on Open Educational Resources (OER) by Wendy Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This page is a modified version of a page from a guide created by Doralyn Rossman at Montana State University.