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Copyright FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions about copyright

What are Open educational resources (OERs)?

OERs are educational materials and tools that have an open license. To be considered an OER it must be covered by an open license and be provided free of charge. It also must have limited or no restrictions on their use, adaptation, and redistribution.

Why should I use an OER over commercial resources?

OERs have no cost, no complicated licenses, and they have freedom of use which means there are little to no restrictions on usage or editing the material. This makes it easier to use the resource without violating any licenses, and it gives greater freedom to adapt the material for a specific course.

How do I use OERs?

By using existing OERs to build a lesson or course users do not have to create it from scratch, they can use and adapt pre-existing resources. OERs can be used in the following ways:

  • Adaptation/Localisation: Allows users to change the context of the OER to meet the needs and education level of their courses.
  • Mixing/Extraction: Multiple OERs can be combined to make a new lesson and, similarly, users can extract the parts of the OER that are pertinent to their course.
  • Reuse/Repurposing: Users are allowed to reuse, and adapt, the same OER multiple times.
  • Translate: OERs give users the freedom to translate the OER.

Where can I find OERs?

When searching for an OER users should make sure that it does not contain copyrighted material and that it has the correct licenses. Users should be careful and use logic to determine whether the source is reliable and that it is free to use.

If you are in doubt seek help at your local Library or Bookstore

Below are links to OER sources:

Open Educational Resources Further Information

All of the information for these FAQs was taken from the following Copyright Workshop guide and was intended as a supplement, please visit this guide for any further information:


We acknowledge the financial contribution of the Table Interordres provinciale du secteur Anglophone /  Provincial Interlevel Table for the English Sector, as well as the technical contribution of M. Ryan Moon, Program Manager - English Language Services Cégep à distance.

The presentation content was adapted from the REPTIC April 2014 workshop Copyrights in the CEGEP environment by Maître Robert Y. Cousineau.