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Open Educational Resources: Copyright

This guide lists open educational sources for MOOCs.

Copyright and MOOCS

As MOOCs are open, online courses delivered to a worldwide audience, it is important to know what copyright material to include.

Many copyright materials normally used at UQ are purchased under closed licenses.  These licences permit the use of these materials when teaching to UQ staff and students.  Such materials include: Library subscription e-journals, chapters of hardcopy books and articles, TV and radio programs, and many resources from the web. 

However there is an enormous amount of additional resources on the web, such as images, articles, videos and music which are not restricted by closed licenses.  As long as they have suitable creative commons licences (or similar) you may use these in MOOCs.

Creative Commons and open access resources

There are different types of creative commons licences.  For MOOCs, try to use Creative Commons material with a BY or BY SA licence.  Both these licences permit commercial use.  So if the MOOC is later commercialised, it can keep this material.

Other resources are freely available on the web such as images and social articles in open access institutional repositories.  Before using this material, take care to examine the website or work's individual terms of use.

Sourcing material

Remember to source where the material you use comes from.  Sometimes the owner of material on a website will provide information on how to source.  Otherwise, you may source (an image for example) by simply providing the URL.

Obtaining permissions

You will need to get written permission to use material if it doesn't have a suitable Creative Commons or similar licence.

  • Approach the copyright author/publisher and negotiate permission for non-commercial (or commercial) reuse of the material
  • Ensure you have permission to deliver this online, to a worldwide audience, and
  • Keep a record of all communications.

See: Columbia University Libraries Guide on Requesting Permission

Alternative options

If it isn't possible to obtain permissions, or it is too costly, consider:

  • Linking to openly available content, rather than copying and including the content in your course. 
  • Creating or using original material where copyright is owned by you.

Copyright Co-ordinator

Tom Joyce
61 7 3365 6755