Open Pedagogy

4 Fair Use & Attribution Statement

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of a creative work. Copyright holders can grant permission for others to use their content. These permissions are called licenses and the resulting products are called derivative works.

Collections vs. Remixes/Adapted works/Derivative works

Collection = An assembly of separate and independent creative works into a collective whole. A collection is not an adaptation. It is a compilation of different works organized as distinct separate objects.

Remix/Adaptation/Derivative = Mixes material from different sources to create a wholly new creation. Users must provide attribution to the individual parts that went into making the adaptation.

Licensing Considerations for Collections

  1. You must provide attribution and licensing information about the individual works in a collection. CC0 does not require attribution but is recommended.
  2. Use the “TASL” approach for attribution: Title, Author, Source, License with a link to the CC license deed. For examples see Recommended practices for attribution.
  3. You can differentiate your original work from third party work by using a footer notice. Example, “Except where otherwise noted, content on this work is licensed under CC BY 4.0. And include a link to the license deed.

Licensing Considerations for Remixes/Adaptations/Derivatives

  1. Be specific about what you changed in the adaptation. Example: original photo cropped and added blue filter overlay. Use the Open Attribution Builder for help.
  2. Provide attribution to each piece that went into making the adaptation.
  3. If you make revisions to an ND licensed work, it cannot be shared publicly.
  4. Must use a compatible license. Safest to choose a more restrictive license for your adaptation.
  5. Your rights in your adaptation only apply to your own contributions and you need to defer to the license of the original work. See the Adapters License Chart.

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources outlines the flexibility of the rules of copyright in the case of course materials created with students. The following uses are allowed under fair use:

  • Using inserts as objects of criticism and commentary
  • Including inserts for the purpose of illustration
  • Incorporating content as learning resource materials
  • Repurposing pedagogical content from existing educational materials

Adoption and adaptation of OER should be as straightforward and transparent as possible. When using material under copyright and relying on fair use, a clear acknowledgment of this fact is best practice. The image below provides an example of a fair use statement with attribution to the original author.

Fair use statement: “Beyond Circular Fashion” infographic by Zero Waste Europe included under the basis of fair use as described in the CFBPFUOER.
From the presentation: Help a Creator Out!? Leaving a Guide for Revising and Remixing by Shannon M. Smith and Amber Hoye, Open Education Conference 2023.


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Connecticut College Pressbooks Creator Guide by Ariela McCaffrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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