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Expanded Copyright (self-paced course)

Self-paced course for faculty and staff to learn the aspects of copyright law that affect higher education. It's intense - if you want something lighter, please go to the Intro to Copyright videos on Learnscape.

A license is a contract

When a person, group, or organization holds a copyright, transferring that copyright to someone or some other entity is not the only way for someone else to be allowed to use that content.

A license is a contract that allows use, and it specifies:

  • What work and which parts of the work are going to be used
  • For what size and description of audience
  • For what purpose
  • How it will be accessed, and how it will be protected
  • For how long
  • How the copyright holder will be compensated

Some examples of licenses:

  • A publisher may pay the author an advance and royalties to have a 28 year exclusive right to publish the entire book and any of its sequels or other derivative works, for a worldwide market.
  • A course developer may secure a one year non-exclusive right to use one chapter of a book within five sections of a password-protected course that only currently enrolled students. It costs $0.35 per page per student accessing the material.
  • A college or university may get a license for a perpetual non-exclusive right to use and revise a course developed by one of its faculty members, in consideration of extra service payment.
  • A teacher may get a free, perpetual, non-exclusive right to use an image as long as she uses it only for educational purposes.

Technically, verbal licenses are legal, but they are too risky for you as the person using somebody else's content. If they change their mind, you don't have much protection.

So a copyright license should be in writing, specific, and ready at hand if you get accused of using the content illegally.