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ScholarsArchive@OSU User Guide

This guide helps ScholarsArchive users deposit and manage their content.

License & Rights Statement FAQ

► Why is there information in a record about both rights and licenses? Aren’t those the same thing?

Although both copyright status (indicated by Rights Statement) and licenses can impact how you can use a work, they are different. Copyright is a bundle of exclusive rights that adhere to an author when they fix a creative expression in a tangible medium (e.g., when you write your thesis or record your performance on video). 

Apart from specific exceptions in the Copyright Act (the broadest of which is fair use), one must get permission before reproducing, distributing, displaying, or modifying someone else’s copyrighted work. However, one does not need permission if it is already granted through a license. Creative Commons is a form of licensing that permits users to use your work under your chosen conditions.

► How can work under copyright also have a Creative Commons license?

Licenses sit on top of--rather than replace--copyright. A creator can apply a Creative Commons license to their copyrighted work. This lets re-users know that the creator is waiving some default copyright restrictions while requiring compliance with certain terms (such as attribution).  Only CC0 (dedicating a work to the public domain) removes all terms attached to re-using a work.

► What should I do if an item says “copyright not evaluated” and I want to use the item?

Libraries and archives often digitize large collections and aren’t always able to analyze each item to assign more granular copyright information. It is up to you to determine how and if you can re-use an item. See the Terms of Use for ScholarsArchive@OSU and the Copyright@OSU guide for more information about fair use, the public domain, and other concepts that influence this determination. If you need assistance with this, please contact Oregon State University Libraries’ copyright specialist: michael [dot] boock [at] oregonstate [dot] edu

► When I deposit a work, should I select a license and a rights statement?

  • If you are the copyright owner--that is, if you are one of the creators of the work--we suggest that you do both. Select a Creative Commons license to apply to your work using the Creative Commons license chooser. For the rights statement, select “In Copyright” unless you are a federal government employee or the work is a dataset consisting of facts. In those cases, you may wish to choose “No Copyright” if the item is indeed in the public domain. Please note that for items in the public domain, attribution is not required. 
  • If you are not the copyright owner and are depositing a work on someone else’s behalf, do not choose a Creative Commons license unless you have the creator's approval. Select “In Copyright” or choose “No Copyright” if the item is in the public domain.

Need assistance with licensing and rights statements?

Please contact: michael.boock [at]