Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright and Fair Use: Open Access and OERs

Answers to common copyright questions asked by librarians and faculty

Guide to OERs

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Digital Public Library of America

If you’re looking to use an item you find in DPLA in your teaching, each item record features information about its copyright status. DPLA is working with contributing institutions to add a standardized rights statement to every item through their partnership. If the item is open, still be sure to mention the contributing institution in your acknowledgements!

Repositories at Universities

If you know a lead author's name, find out where that person teaches and go to their institution. There may be an institutional repository that holds the author's published works; even full-text books can be found this way.

Open Licensing and OERs

Creative Commons Licensing:

Creative Commons licensing is at the heart of the OER movement. CC allows creators to specify more flexible forms of copyright that allows "others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work."

Look for copyright information (often at the bottom of webpages). Creative Commons licensed material sometimes display clickable icons that indicate the specifics of licensing. Examples:

Creative Commons License  Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License  Creative Commons License

See the Creative Commons website for more info and to acquire license icons.

What Can I Do With Creative Commons?

Apply a Creative Commons License to make your work re-usable on your terms. The chart below explains the different Creative Commons licenses and what the licenses allow others to do with your work.