Week 9: Copyright

In this week’s lecture, we learned about copyright, copyleft and various resources for finding free material.

Copyright, Fair Use & Public Domain

Copyright, a form of intellectual property, refers to the ‘right to copy’ and usually lies by the creator of the original work. If ‘copies’ are made, the original is called the underlying work, and any reproductions are derivative works. However, a derivative work must have a substantial difference from the underlying work to become its’ own original and thus, have those modifications also be protected by copyright.

Even copyrighted works may be used in the context of Fair Use, which includes news reporting, teaching, research or library archiving. Copyright can also expire or be forfeited by the copyright holder, which results in the works becoming Public Domain and thus allowed to use without having to obtain the rights.


Copyleft on the other hand is the practice of using copyright to allow people to distribute copies and create derivative works, as long as those operate under the same license. The GNU General Public License and the Creative Commons License are popular examples of this.

There are different Creative Commons Licenses, ranging from only allowing to share the original work (while giving credit, and only noncommercially) to being able to distribute and modify the original work even in commercial context (while still giving credit!).

Creative Commons Licenses


  • The Internet Archive: Digital library providing free access to a number of archived webpages, books, films and more
  • Free Music Archive: Digital library of high-quality audio files which are free to use for all
  • Project Gutenberg: Free eBooks
  • Google Reverse Image Search: By pressing the camera icon on the google image search you can search for instances of an image on a webpage, either by providing a URL or uploading the image itself
  • Citation Machine: Generates citations in a chosen style (e.g. APA) for books, articles, websites, and other content

Until next week!

Image Source: www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk


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