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A Primer for Using and Citing Content

The challenges of how, when and why to give attribution to material on the World Wide Web has opened up many new cans of worms for authors and academic scholars everywhere. Unlike any other media available, the Web provides an open and accessible source from which material can be lifted and almost instantly copied and re-used, with essentially no constraints or means of enforcement of the “rules” under which the academic world operates. The fact is that anything that is published, or posted on any website is subject to copyright protections, and the copyright is owned either by the owner of the website, or the designated author or creator of the material on the site.

It is commendable that we receive many queries from viewers asking for permission to use content. In order to facilitate this, we provide a relatively new tool to grant this permission to all viewers, without you having to request or obtain specific permission – the Creative Commons license. The Creative Commons license is posted in the footer of every page on the site. Scroll down to see it — it is posted in the black footer area. Below is a general explanation of the Creative Commons license from their website.

Our license is called the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA) license.

What this means, in the simplest of terms, is that you can

Note that if we have indicated that a figure or other material is copyrighted by a specific person, even though their work is also covered by the Creative Commons license, it is a courtesy to contact that person to ask their permission to re-use their work. You can use the contact form if you need help contacting the individual.

Here is the website that explains the specific details of this license – When you indicate this permission you can use the following abbreviation to give notice of this permission – “Permission covered by the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license”

About Creative Commons

“The internet makes it easy for people to use and share each other’s work. But sometimes the law makes it hard. When you make any creative work, that work is automatically copyrighted with “all rights reserved” — whether that’s what you want or not.

“But people have been adapting and building upon each other’s work for centuries. Musicians sample beats from each other’s music. Artists create collages from other people’s images. Teachers borrow each other’s activities and lesson plans. Scientists build off of one another’s results to make new discoveries. When all of the great content in the world is locked under All Rights Reserved, what’s left for us to play with? When everyone can use a work, everyone benefits from it.

“Creative Commons licenses let you control your copyright: with our free licenses, you can give others permission to use your creations, with “some rights reserved” as long as they follow a few simple rules. We believe that everyone should have access to the world’s knowledge, information, and culture, and we need your help to make it happen.”

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