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DigitalCommons@WOU User's Guide

This guide provides information about DigitalCommons@WOU, Western Oregon University's digital repository for collecting, managing, preserving and providing access to the research and scholarship of the WOU community.

Copyright & Licensing FAQ

► What is the difference between copyright and licenses?

Although both copyright and licenses can impact how you can use a work, they are different.

Copyright is a bundle of exclusive rights that adhere to an author when they fix a creative expression in a tangible medium (e.g.,using a computer to write an article, record a performance on video, capture an image with a camera). These rights include reproduction, distribution, display, performance and modification of the work. Unless your use of someone else's copyrighted work falls under a specific exemption, you must get permission before using the work.

Licenses grant users permissions. They can be for one specific use or negotiated collectively. Creative Commons is a form of licensing that gives users permission to use a creator's work, under conditions of their choice.

► How can a work under copyright also have a Creative Commons license?

Licenses sit on top of--rather than replace--copyright. A creator can apply a Creative Commons license to their copyrighted work. This lets others know that the creator is waiving some default copyright restrictions while requiring compliance with certain terms (such as attribution). Only the CC0 license, which dedicates a work to the public domain, removes all terms attached to a work.