It is extremely important that all of us model and protect intellectual rights and property. For those already up-to-date on this information, please take a few moments to review it, for others it may take a little longer. The expectation is not to be an expert, but to be aware of ethical practice and know where you can find the information when needed.

These activities should take less than 60 minutes. You will not be 'tested' for competency, this is a series of short learning opportunities.

Part 1 provides a brief review of information about copyright, citing the source, and legal and ethical practices with digital tools while applying the principles of Fair Use in using media. This section includes short Quizzes that provide a variety of learning activities and opportunities, and identifies differences between Open Educational Resources (O.E.R. and Public Domain)

Part 2 is about adding your own Creative Commons license to your creative work, and recognizing different levels of the license.

Part 3 is for you to reflect on your learning, review your goals and identify new ones as needed.

Key Vocabulary

Fair Use: Fair Use (in US copyright law) is the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

Copyright: Copyright is the legal right to be the only one to reproduce, publish, and sell a book, musical recording, etc., for a certain period of time.

Public Domain: Public Domain are materials belonging or being available to the public as a whole, and therefore not subject to copyright.

Creative Commons License: A Creative Commons license lets you dictate how others may use your work. The Creative Commons license allows you to keep your copyright but allows others to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit and only on the conditions you specify.

This is a list of seven questions that are helpful to be aware of as you work with media.

  1. What is copyright?
  2. How long does the copyright on an original work last?
  3. What is the Fair Use Act?
  4. What is plagiarism?
  5. What types of things can be copyrighted? What cannot be copyrighted?
  6. What is the public domain?
  7. The Fair Use Act allows anyone to use copyrighted materials for educational purposes. What other uses are covered under the Fair Use Act?

The copyright quizzes and videos below provide a variety of learning opportunities to check your knowledge, or show in your classroom to students:

Learning Resources

  • Visit and read through the Copyright Basics & FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page.
  • Look for additional answers to common questions at
  • View the very short videos below:

Ryan Molton, an artist explains copyright (2:46)

YouTube video (4:42) "Copyright and Fairuse for Student Projects"

YouTube video from WatchKnowLearn "Plagiarism: How to avoid it" (2:07)

O.E.R & Public Domain Licensing

Many public educational and non-profit organizations are participating in Open Education Resources (O.E.R.), #GoOpenMichigan is an example. Others place their creations in the Public Domain.

Both types let others 'use' the intellectual property. The difference is that Public Domain, CO, does not recognize clear ownership of an intellectual property, whereas O.E.R. maintains the copyright ownership, but grants broad rights to the public to reproduce and distribute their creative works using Creative Commons licenses.


1. Watch the short video below from Wikimedia to learn about Creative Commons.

2. Learn about the Creative Commons project, and use this Quizlet for Creative Commons License (addresses 13 terms).

3. Learn to use Creative commons license by selecting Share Your Work and step through the Get Started sections to view the options for the animation you created.

4. When you are ready to create your own license begin making your selections and notice that the panels and image will change as you begin to choose the appropriate license use you want to permit for your work.

  • Allow adaptations of your work?
  • Allow commercial use?
  • Attribution type
  • Add metadata tags to your work (optional but recommended)
  • Copy the html code if posting to a web site
  • Choose a compact or normal icon to place on your work

5. Select the "Use and remix" section to check out material already available to reuse and mix.

  • Select the Search option and notice you can browse by different collections for work you are allowed to use. There are collections from museums. animal diversity web, flickr, and many others.
  • If your students are doing a science project on marine species, the World Register of Marine Species has over 10,000 images and you can filter your results by license, image and file type, aspect ration and image size.

Part 3

Reflect on your learning:

  • how will you use and model the use of creative commons licenses?
  • what information might be helpful to share with others, and with whom?
  • are there some future goals to identify or some to revise?

Move on to Creating Your Video

Addressing the ISTE Standards For Educators

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, 
evaluation, curation and adoption of 
new digital resources and tools for learning.

3a. Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
3c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.

5a. Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on maker spaces or in the field.
6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

7a. Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.


Using Copyrighted Material - Baylor University

Fair Use- Copyright Overview by Rich Stim, Stanford University

Copyright ProProfs Quiz