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Copyright and Creative Commons

Page history last edited by Clare Gormley 12 years ago

Home: eLearning Toolkit


Copyright protects creativity.  However the ease with which online content can be copied (accidentally or otherwise) can lead to violation of copyright law. The fact is that every digital artifact (e.g. a document, photo or web page) is automatically granted full copyright so that the creator has control over how it can be re-used. As a developer of eLearning materials, this means that:

  • You cannot copy text verbatim. If you want to extract or quote from a particular source, you must always correctly cite it by following referencing standards
  • You are free to use any images you have created. However, you are not allowed to reuse images from other sources (such as websites, books or periodicals) without written permission. 


One of the best ways to ensure that you do not infringe copyright law is to use Creative Commons (CC) licences. These enable simple sharing of content and are very popular in eLearning. All current CC licences require that you attribute the original author(s) to the best of your ability with the information provided. For images, the attribution should display in italics directly underneath the image itself. Here is the standard convention for attributing CC content throughout IT Online materials: Photo by (author) under (Creative Commons Licence Type) i.e.  



To find out more about Creative Commons, check out these links:

  • Creative Commons Kiwi  Clever New Zealand video explaining the various CC licence types.  It's important to be aware of the different types so you can use them appropriately.
  • Catherine Cronin's Blog  Excellent range of CC-related information and resources. The Open Attribute browser plugin mentioned is also very useful. 
  • FAQs Everything you ever wanted to know about creating, using & attributing CC content. 




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