Works are considered to be in the 'public domain' when they:
Fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) acts as a counterbalance, enabling limited use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner. It is a law that enables researchers, educators, journalists, and critics (e.g., parody skits on SNL) to use copyrighted material without copyright infringement. If there are lawsuits arising from fair use disagreements, the following will be considered:
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Read more about Fair Use in Chapter 10 of the "Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators eBook" below.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational resources such as textbooks, lesson plans, and videos that authors create with open licenses. Many OERs are free for you to use, which also means if you select an OER textbook, your students do not have to pay for access to required readings! Many OERs also use Creative Commons licenses that allow you to reuse, embed, and even adapt the materials for your own teaching.
This guide was created by Paizha Stoothoff, Humanities Librarian, with a CC-BY-NC license. This means anyone can reuse content with attribution and for non-commercial purposes. To read more about CC licenses, visit Creative Commons.