Creative Credit and Copyright

Creative Credit, Copyright and Fair Use

With tongue-in-cheek, let's start this discussion on a light note. The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University posted this "humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms, by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University." Take a look!

"A Fair(y) Use Tale - YouTube." 18 May. 2007, Accessed 17 May. 2017.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License

Academic Honesty

Academic honesty demonstrates one's respect and recognition for the integrity and intellectual property of the works of others. It is essential that online teachers model academic honesty.

Academic honesty includes the avoidance of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and facilitating academic dishonesty. Cheating is one of the most widespread violations of academic honesty.

  • Cheating is the act of using, viewing, storing, or submitting work that belongs to someone else without approval.
  • Plagiarism is the use of ideas, phrases, or other materials without properly citing the source.
  • Fabrication is falsifying or inventing information, misrepresenting one's self.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty involves helping someone else violate standards of academic honesty.

University of Rochester's definition of Academic Honesty

University of Manitoba's Academic Honesty Quiz: Test Your Integrity I.Q. is an enlightening exercise, give it a try!

Copyright and Fair Use

What is fair use? 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 (in US copyright law.)

What is copyright? The exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

This section on copyright and fair use contains resources that direct you to Common Sense Media's Copyright and Fair Use resources including lesson plans for teaching this topic to your students.

As you view the video below, think about your current use of copyrighted materials and the extent to which you teach these concepts in your classroom. These Common Sense Resources are available for all grades K-12.

In this video, students are introduced to copyright, fair use, and the rights they have as creators. Use this video in your classroom in conjunction with the lesson plan, "Copyrights and Wrongs: How can I make responsible choices when I use other people's creative work?"

Video discussion questions

This video is licensed under Creative Commons

Another good resourse to use in the classroom is Common Sense Media's Research and Citation Tools for Students

Stanford University Libraries created a Copyright & Fair Use web site dedicated to fair use. Please take a few moments to browse the site to refresh or deepen your understand of this topic.

Images and Copyrighted Work

You must obtain the permission of the copyright holder of an image before using, reproducing, or manipulating it in an assignment or research paper. It is a good idea to verify whether you have permission to use an image before including it in your work, rather than saving this step for last. In some cases blanket permission for educational purposes is granted in advance through the terms of a database license or the terms described by the online collection's owner. This is the case for Databases Available Through SFU Library.

Though you may obtain permission to use an image, you must still credit the copyright holder. In statements of usage rights on websites, this practice is often called "attribution." In some cases, you will be instructed to attribute the image to an institution that owns the copyright. When citing, include as much of the information below as possible:

  • Image creator's name (artist, photographer, etc.)
  • Title of the image
  • Date the image (or work represented by the image) was created
  • Website and/or Database name

When dealing with freely viewable collections on the Internet, look for a page with copyright information, a license statement, terms and conditions, or permissions. This page may give blanket permission for educational purposes, instruct you to check copyright terms for each image, or ask that you contact the image owner for permission to use it. In other cases, you may be required to pay a usage fee. Another resource that may be helpful for any teacher creating or using digital resources is Creative Commons.

These next two videos are excellent overviews of Copyright and Fair Use and suitable for use with your students.

"Copyright Basics - YouTube." 24 Sep. 2010, Accessed 17 May. 2017.

"Creativity, Copyright, and Fair Use For Ethical Digital Citizens - YouTube." 3 Feb. 2015, Accessed 17 May. 2017.

"Citations Tool in Google Docs 2017 - YouTube." 18 Jan. 2017, Accessed 17 May. 2017.

Google Explore Citation Generator

Many school districts are now using Google Apps for Education. Using Google Explore to assist with citations is a great tool to teach your students when they want to cite material they have accessed from the Internet. The video to the left gives you a clear step-by-step tutorial on how to use this tool. You may also go to Google's Docs Editor's Help page for a text-based tutorial.

Creative Commons Licenses

A growing number of online images are being published with Creative Commons licenses (for example, many of the images on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons). These licenses are designed to give copyright holders a range of permission options for digital intellectual property and in most cases allow educational uses. Particularly if you would like to alter an image or incorporate elements of it into a new art work, you should examine the license for details of how you are allowed to use the image. To see the license, click on the Creative Commons logo or the Creative Commons License link. Learn more about Creative Commons.

The following video by BrickPress is an excellent overview of Creative Commons licensing and its components. Check out the multitude of attributions that have used, changed or remixed this video.

"Creative Commons License and how it helps us share ... - YouTube." 4 Jun. 2012, Accessed 17 May. 2017.

If you click on the "view attributions" link in YouTube this is what you will see:

Published on Jun 4, 2012

This is a short educational video on how to share downloaded digital content legally using Creative Commons licenses. For more information on Creative Commons licenses or on how you can help, please visit

Public Domain

You will sometimes see images described as being "in the public domain." This refers to works that belong to the community at large, are not protected by copyright, and may be appropriated by anyone. For example, in Canada, most works pass into the public domain after fifty years following the end of the calendar year in which the author died. However, it is important to realize that while a work may be in the public domain, a specific edition or image of the work may be under copyright.

Resources from Common Sense Media have been used with permission.