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An introduction to open licensing and Creative Commons in the context of U.S. copyright

For most people understanding U.S. copyright law is challenging and often frustrating. The complexities of understanding your rights as a copyright owner, as a user of third-party works, even as an educator, and especially in a digital environment take time and effort. Laws pertaining to copyright changes over time, and the purpose of copyright "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts" (I U.S. Constitution S8, c8) sometimes seems lost, especially for those who are not legal experts.

While extremely specific use exemptions exist for classroom teaching, libraries, and online learning exist (see "Copyright in Teaching"), fair use analyses are still an option, and obtaining permission (and sometimes paying a fee) are also options, the advent of authors applying Creative Commons licenses to their works has greatly broadened the availability of creative, original works which may be used with attribution as designated by their authors.


Contact us

  •     Anita Walz
  • Anita R Walz
  • Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian
  • 540-231-2204
  • arwalz@vt.edu
  • 422 Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
  •     Ginny Pannabecker
  • Ginny Pannabecker
  • Life Science and Scholarly Communication Librarian
  • 540-231-7980
  • vpannabe@vt.edu
  • 410 Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061

CC BY License
All original content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 3rd-party content including, but not limited to images and linked items, are subject to their own license terms.