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Copyright and Fair Dealing

What is Open Access and Creative Commons?

Both Open Access and Creative Commons are online internet sites that provide access and use of materials without requiring permissions for the use of those materials usually through various types of licenses.


Open Access

Provides access to peer reviewed scholarly materials which allow readers to view, download and copy materials. Terms of use are set by the individual creator and range from partial access t unrestricted use. The user must read the terms of use to know how the material can be used. Examples pf Open Access site are OpenDOAR and DOAJ.


Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that enables creators to share their materials via a set of copyright licenses. There are standardized licenses that give the public permission to share and use works based on the rights the creator has chosen. Rights vary from some rights reserved. The user must read the accompanying license to know how the material can be used.


Public Domain

A work in the public domain is free for everyone to use without permission or paying royalties. The phrase ‘public domain’ is a copyright term referring to works that belong to the public. Works can be in the public domain for a variety of reasons: because the term of copyright protection has expired; because the work was not eligible for copyright in the first place; or because the copyright owner has given the copyright in the work to the public.


Note: These categories do not include traditional knowledge which exists outside of copyright and its exceptions.

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. You may copy the guide as long as credit is included. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials. Please be aware that many of our guides contain links to subscription-based services for which access is restricted, and collections of resources that may have additional rights reserved. Please consult the licenses and terms of use for each resource.