Thing 8: Creative Commons and Copyright


photo credit: openDemocracy: CC BY-SA 2.0

If you are thinking of using externally sourced material (e.g. when you get to Thing 10), it’s important to understand the basics of what you can and can’t use. This post won’t/can’t cover it all (governments are grappling with the complexities of online copyright as we speak!), but we’ll look at Creative Commons (CC) and how it frees us to share and reuse online.

CC is a non-profit organisation that offers a simple, standardised way to give public permission to share and/or use your creative work. CC licenses offer various levels of permissions, from ‘all rights reserved’ to ‘some rights reserved’. CC licenses are now commonly found on photos, blogs (including this blog), published material, teaching resources, music and more.

Let’s take a moment to understand the CC license that this blog has.

Look down in the bottom right hand corner of the page. You will see an area in the sidebar with the CC logo and some text describing the nature of the licence.

Use the CC license page to understand the different elements of this licence, and think about whether any of these might be appropriate for any of your work.


  1. Consider adding a CC license to your blog or another piece of online work by using the ‘Choose a license’ page.

 Exploring further

  1. For general copyright information, you may wish to look at Surrey’s pages on Copyright and if you have questions contact the advisors mentioned on the right hand side.
  2. You might also explore issues related to open access, particularly in scholarly communication. For some interesting places to start, take a look at Surrey Research Insight’s blog
  3. If you’re interested in copyright online beyond the basic CC licenses, you can explore endlessly. You might be interested in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US, which helps control access to online works. The UK Government has webpages dedicated to copyright and commissioned the Hargreaves Report, which looks at streamlining copyright in the digital age.

Week 5 blog post
This week we’d like you to talk about one of the resources you found while exploring Things 7 and 8.  Do you already use reference management software? Have you signed up for the experience exchange? Can you see why these tools may be useful?

Don’t forget to tag your post Thing7 and 8.



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