Copyright Information for OERs

What is Copyright?

Copyright is an intellectual property right that is very important to TRU faculty, staff and students as we are all creators and consumers of various forms of intellectual property. Infringing copyright is a serious matter and TRU requires faculty, staff and students to comply with the Copyright Act of Canada, and to work within our TRU Fair Dealing Policy.

Although the Copyright Act gives many educators several educational exemptions, such as Fair Dealing, that allow us to use third party materials in our courses, we cannot use these exemptions to use materials that are protected by Copyright In our courses (on campus and online), we can use many materials with the exemptions in the Copyright Act, mainly for education purposes.

Because OER’s are meant to be openly and widely distributed, we can only include works that:

  • Have been created by YOU
  • Are CC licensed
  • Are in the Public Domain
  • You can apply a CC license to your own work, but watch the terms of other CC licenses!
  • *BCCampus will not accept OERs that include 3rd party materials with copyright*

Open-copyright licences

Everything we create is protected automatically by copyright, unless the creator gives these rights away by releasing the material under the public domain, or by attaching a free content license on it (such as creative commons, the BSD License, the GNU LGPL, and the GNU GPL license). 

Material that is used under the DFSG or the Free Software Foundation‘s standards, cannot be used in contexts that require these freedoms, such as Wikipedia. For software, …

Work licensed under a Creative Commons license is governed by applicable copyright law.[10] This allows Creative Commons licenses to be applied to all work falling under copyright, including: books, plays, movies, music, articles, photographs, blogs, and websites. Wikipedia

You already have copyright to anything you create – applying a CC license on your work allows you to retain the baseline rights (the right to distribute your work how, to who and to where you want,  but also whether you want your work used for noncommercial purposes only, or without modifications.  control how the user will use your work.

Attribution is the cornerstone condition when using a resource or text released with an open-copyright licence. This legal requirement states that users must attribute — give credit — to the creator of the work. (See Copyright and Open Licences.)

For information about Authoring see the BC Campus Open Licences and Creative Commons for Authors guide.

Help is available!

  • Visit the TRU Copyright office to learn more about protecting your own intellectual property rights and using others’ materials responsibly in OER development.

If you have any questions about materials and copyright, please contact us directly at We are happy to help!