Copyright for OER

A key aspect of Open Educational Resources (OER) is that they are either in the public domain, or have been released with an intellectual property license that permits permits reuse and adaption. Resources that are free of cost (gratis) may not actually be OER, and understanding this distinction is important as we create, adopt, and adapt educational resources.

OER are resources that allow you to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain. them. Legal restrictions and requirements make content less open, and if you are unable to practice any of the 5 R’s of open content the resource may not be OER.

Creative Commons logo

Creative Commons (CC) licenses are the gold standard for open content, and are used the world around. CC licenses are standardized, interoperable, and make it simple to signal how others can reuse materials you create. For more information about Creative Commons license, see Licensing Considerations on

CC licenses come at no cost (they are free!) and no registration is required to place a license on your work. See the Creative Commons license chooser page to get yours.

CC licenses come in a number of flavors, depending on the permission they wish to grant to others or retain for themselves.

Spectrum of open licenses  by Cable Green / / CC BY


University of Hawaii — Open Education Resources