In this learning module you will learn about copyright. Topics include:

  • Copyright and fair use
  • Creative Commons
  • Public domain
  • Western’s Copyright Compliance Policy
  • Sample letters for requesting use of material

Why: According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright is “a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” Under the law, the individual or entity that owns the copyright of a work has the following rights: – Reproduction: Making copies – Adaptation: Changing a work in some way – Distribution: Giving the work to others – Public Performance: Playing/performing a work in front of others – Public Display:Displaying a work for others to view – Digital Transmission of Sound Recordings: Capturing audio files on the internet and burning CDs/file sharing Why – with the abundant availability of learning materials available on the internet, being aware, at a minimum, is critical for all faculty.

If you review all learning activities in this module, it will take you approximately 45 minutes.

Learning Activities

  1. Review competency and learning objectives.


Examine copyright and how it applies to use of learning materials.

Learning Objectives

  • Define what copyright means in higher education.
  • Explore the concept of public domain.
  • Examine how the internet has had an impact on copyright.
  1. Read the Creative Commons FAQ section titled Legal Background for an introduction to copyright, public domain, and creative commons. Creative Commons FAQ

     (5 Minutes)

  1. Watch the video:
    Copyright and Fair Use. (3:39 Minutes)

Learning Materials

  1. Read the University of Michigan’s FAQ section, focusing attention on FAQs regarding use of materials in a learning environment. To access the the material, click on the words University of Michigan’s FAQ Section. (10 Minutes)

Learning Materials

  1. Examine the U.S. guidelines for using copyrighted material in the classroom. Focus on pages 6 & 7, of Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians (PDF).” (15 Minutes)

Learning Materials

  1. Read the following article on using online images in a public setting. (15 Minutes)

Learning Materials

  1. Examine Western Technical College’s Copyright Compliance policy.

Learning Materials

  1. Checkout University of Michigan Copyright Basics. In particular this site, under Permission section, provides you with sample letters to request use of material.

Learning Materials

  1. Checkout Computer Hope. This site provides you with places where you can find free public domain images and pictures.

Learning Materials