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View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

IDST 010-16 (McNamer): Premodern Worlds

Fall 2020

Key Concepts


Copyright provides the creators of original works of authorship with a limited set of exclusive rights to copy, distribute, and perform their works. The following pages provide some copyright basics:

Fair Use

Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows you to use copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner or paying any license fees. Fair use allows you to use limited portions of another’s work, including text, images, video, and music, in your new work. Some examples of fair uses are teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, news reporting, and parody.

Public Domain

Copyright protection expires after a length of time legislated by Congress. Once a work falls into this category it is considered to be in the public domain, which means that no permission is needed from the owner to use the work. Copyright duration is complicated. In general, published works created on or after January 1, 1978 are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. In the case of joint authorship, copyright protection is in place for 70 years after the death of the last surviving author. Unpublished works and works created before January 1, 1978 present a variety of conditions that must be met to qualify for copyright protection. Cornell University has created a comprehensive, up-to-date table detailing copyright duration and the public domain.

Creative Commons

A non-profit organization created to facilitate the sharing and use of creative works. Under the CC system, creators tell other people how their works can be used by marking it with a CC license.

Understanding Creative Commons Licenses

The following icons indicate what type of reuse and remixing may or may not be allowed for a particular image. Many major web platforms, including Flickr and Wikipedia, encourage use of Creative Commons licenses.

 Attribution (by)

All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.

 ShareAlike (sa)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.

 NonCommercial (nc)

You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen NoDerivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.

 NoDerivatives (nd)

You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

Source: "Licensing Types." Creative Commons,

A Fair(y) Use Tale

The above film was created by Professor Eric Faden (Bucknell University). The video is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Creative Commons   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details of our policy