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Copyright for Educators: A Guide to the Law and Fair Use

This guide leads to resources that will help educators learn more about copyright and fair use and may therefore be of help in answering questions about using copyrighted content in the classroom.

Getting Started

One way to avoid entirely the conundrum of using copyrighted content - and making fair use determinations, requesting permissions, paying for use, etc - is to make as much use as possible of open content. That mean using readings, images, video and other content where the copyright owner is making the content openly available. This is usually accomplished with a Creative Commons license, or by depositing the content into a repository of open teaching resources or some other mechanism for openly sharing resources.

This section will identify tips and techniques for identifying open content.

NOTE: licensed library content - for example the articles in Academic Search Premier or JStor or streaming video from Alexander Street Press - is freely available to Temple University faculty and students because we pay for subscriptions to the content. However, while it may seem to be freely open - it is not available to the general public.This is good for us - but note the distinction between licensed content (we are paying for usage) and openly accessible content (the creator makes the content openly accessible via a creative commons license).

Finding Open Education Resources

Google Image Search - Find Reusable Content

When searching for images to use on visuals such as slides, handouts or webpages, the search tools provide a filter to limit results to those with noncommercial licensing. If you are able to find images that are being openly shared by the copyright holder than it makes sense to use these images. Use the "Usage Rights" search filter.

Here is a screenshot from Google Image Search:

This is a screenshot of a google image search

FLICKR Image Search

FLICKR is another potential sources of openly accessible images. As a widely popular source there are thousands and thousands of images to be found there. When accessing FLICKR there is a "license" filter where you can specify images that are Creative Commons licensed. Limit your search to those images that are already available for public use. As with all Creative Commons licensed works, if attribution is requested by the owner, be sure to provide it.

Here is an example of the search screen in FLICKR:

This is a screenshot of the search page for flickr

Other Resources for Finding Open Content