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Open Educational Resources

Creative Commons and Copyright

Copyright is the intellectual property law that protects a creative work from theft or misuse.  It is the creator's legal claim to the works that he or she creates. By default, any original creative work is copyrighted to the creator.  

Creative Commons (CC) provides easy-to-use copyright licenses that present a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use creative works. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable people to modify copyright terms to best suit their needs. See different licenses here!

5 R's image by David Wiley

Dr. David Wiley, of Lumen Learning, developed the 5Rs framework to explain and remember permissions granted by an open license. This framework is a good guideline and if you are unable to practice any of the 5Rs with a resource it may not be open. The 5Rs outline that users have the right, with openly licensed material, to do the following:

  • Retain - Make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse - Use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise - Adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - Combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mash-up)
  • Redistribute - Share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons Guides