This research guide provides links to resources about copyright and "fair use" of copyrighted materials. It is designed to help faculty make decisions on what materials can be included in-classroom, online, and hybrid courses. Copyright law has several purposes. It's designed to help authors control the use of their work in order to get credit for, and profit from, that work. This means that the author has the first right to copy their material and to distribute it. It's also designed to move intellectual property into the public domain eventually, so that society at large can profit from these materials.
Copyright allows authors to license their content however they want. In the online world, many authors are moving toward a collaborative and open model of publishing their work. Because they own their copyright, they can license their materials under any combination of CreativeCommons Licenses, which allow them to participate in the collaborative online culture that may add value and increase usage of their works. These licenses are free to use and allow the author to control how the work can be shared, reused (or not), and incorporated in the digital world. These CreativeCommons licenses form the legal basis for "open educational resources", "open textbooks", and "open access journals".