Online Materials

The ease of posting and copying digital material has made the Internet a hotbed of copyright infringement. The popularity of downloading copyrighted music and art off the Internet has created the false impression that such activity is legal, when in fact, it often is not. Downloading copyrighted music, video, or art is prohibited, unless you have specific permission to do so.

Use of Freely-Available Materials on the Internet

Copyrightable materials are often available on the Internet without any indication of their copyrighted status, such as a copyright notice. As a result, you should assume everything you find on the Internet is copyrighted, unless otherwise labeled. This rule of thumb applies to all categories of copyrightable works, such as pictures, articles, video and music. Even popular activities, such as file swapping or copying software or pictures from the Internet may be copyright infringement and should be avoided. There may also be copyrights in screenshots.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

The term Open Educational Resources (OER) was first introduced at a conference hosted by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2000, and was promoted in the context of providing free access to educational resources on a global scale. The MCCCD Maricopa Millions OER Project defines OER as "teaching, learning, and research resources that are copyright-free or have been released under a copyright license that permits others to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute them. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world."

A number of search engines and websites exist to search for OER that can be used in the classroom or for online learning. Some examples are:

  • OER Commons - "Find Free-to-Use Teaching and Learning Content from around the World. Organize K-12 Lessons, College Courses, and more."
  • Creative Commons DiscoverEd - "Discover the Universe of Open Educational Resources".
  • Jorum - "(OER) shared and created under CC licenses by those who teach in or create content for the further and higher education communities in the UK."
  • Temoa — a portal for OER.
  • University Learning = OCW+OER = Free custom search engine - a meta-search engine incorporating many different OER repositories (uses Google Custom Search).
  • XPERT - a resource search engine from the University of Nottingham, UK.
  • OER Dynamic Search Engine - a wiki page of OER sites with search functionality.
  • JISC Digital Media - advice on finding video, audio and images online, including those licensed as Creative Commons.

Creative Commons Licenses

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several types of open or public licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use and build upon a work that they have created. A CC license provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work, so they don't have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.

There are several types of CC licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. The CC licenses were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 2001.

There are six types of CC licenses. A description of each license is described below:

  1. Attribution (CC BY) — This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as the user credits the author of the original creation. This is the most accommodating license offered. This license is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. The credit should include the title of the work, the author, the type of work and the type of license, with a link back to the original work if available online. An example of a credit to a photograph of a wolf is "Wolf photograph by S. Smith is licensed under CC BY 2.0."
  2. Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) — This license lets other remix, tweak, and build upon a work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to so-called "copyleft" free and open source software licenses. All new works based on the author's work will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
  3. Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND) — This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author.
  4. Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC) — This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, and although a user's new work must also acknowledge the author and be non-commercial, the user does not have to license the derivative work under the same terms.
  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) — This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license any new creations under the identical terms.
  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) — This license is the most restrictive of the six licenses, only allowing others to download works and share them with others as long as the user credits the author, but the user cannot change the works in any way, or use them commercially.

Posting Copyrighted Materials to MCCCD Websites

You should only post copyrighted materials on the MCCCD website, individual MCCCD college sites, or any other site hosted by MCCCD servers if you have specific, written permission from the copyright owner to post their materials on the Internet. Permission to use or copy material for other purposes may not include the right to post that same material on a website. Posting copyrighted material on a website without permission may constitute infringement of the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform that work. It may also make you contributorily liable if third parties access the work for infringing purposes.

In addition, faculty and other teachers should not post or otherwise provide online access to instructional materials that were required or recommended in any face-to-face MCCCD class within the prior three years, unless permission was obtained to post the material. Also remember that student works may be copyrighted and should not be posted on the MCCCD site without written permission from the student. If you are unsure of the propriety of posting particular material on a site, contact the Office of General Counsel at 480-731-8878.

Linking to Websites

It is common practice for websites to include links to other websites, and this is typically not a problem. However, there are some risks involved. Before hyperlinking to another website, the other site should be checked for any conditions that might apply when linking. For example, it is good practice to avoid "deep-linking" or hyperlinking directly to material and bypassing the homepage. By deep-linking, there is a danger that identification of the owner/ creator is removed from the original website. It may appear that the linked content is your own. Thus, it is advisable to link to the home page of a website, and clearly label the links with the name of the website and creator or author of the website. Also, avoid the use of frames and do not link from frames to another external site without permission. If you do link to an external website, make sure it opens in a separate frame to avoid confusion or possible misinterpretation of ownership.

Page Updated 05/20/14