Do you know you can violate copyright laws by using online resources without permission or a proper licence? Avoid issues by using copyright friendly resources, including those licenced under Creative Commons.
Types of copyright friendly resources
Works in the public domain means their copyright has expired or the work is copyright free (check Duration of Copyright for more information). You do not need permission from anyone to use, edit or remix this content.
The Creative Commons
Creative Commons (CC) licences allow creators to specifically license their work for reuse by anyone. This means the creator of a work can let you copy and reuse their work in certain ways, with correct attribution, without you having to ask their permission.
Every CC licence allows the user to, at least:
- copy the work, distribute it, display or perform it publicly, make digital public performances of it and/or shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy.
Beyond this, the various licences may allow the creation of derivative works, permit only non-commercial uses, etc.
All CC licensed content and derivatives can be uploaded to LMS as well as to open websites, wikis, etc., but remember to check the specific details of each licence used – and that they all require attribution.
Before using a resource with a Creative Commons licence, ensure you read, understand and adhere to the conditions of the licence.
Open Access (OA) and Open Educational Resources (OERs)
Open Access usually applies to scholarly journals and repositories, and means that there are no restrictions, such as a paywall, on who can read the contents. Open Access does not necessarily mean free to share. It may only mean that you can copy and download an article, for instance, for your own study and research.
You can search for Open Access content using the 'Open Access' filter on Library Search.
Additionally, teaching staff may consider using Open Educational Resources (OERs), which are openly licensed teaching materials which can be revised, remixed, added to, translated and shared. For more information, see our OER Guide.
Finding copyright friendly resources
Here is a list of websites and repositories to get you started:
You can also use Google or other search engines to look for copyright friendly resources, by adding ‘Creative Commons’ to your search terms.
- kangaroo paw images Creative Commons
- physics textbook Creative Commons
- audio Jane Austen Creative Commons
To look for free to share content you can also use an ‘advanced search’ option such as Google Image Search, for images, or Google Advanced Search, for text and other materials. In some advanced search options there may be a ‘usage rights’ filter to select a particular Creative Commons licence. Check the Creative Commons licence applied to any specific work to see how you can use it.
For help finding copyright friendly resources, contact the University Copyright Coordinator.
Workshops are held throughout semester on various aspects of copyright for both staff and students. For details, contact the Copyright Coordinator.
For Murdoch staff and student enquiries:
For all other enquiries:
The information and advice given in these pages is for general use: it is not legal opinion.