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Oklahoma City Community College Keith Leftwich Memorial Library

Copyright Basics for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Students and Copyright

Students often believe common myths regarding copyright.

  • "If I found it online, I can use it."
  • "If I cite it, I don't need to worry about copyright."
  • "I'm using it for educational uses, so it's okay."

Unfortunately, these broad statements are not the case much of the time.  Unless you can determine otherwise, assume everything is copyrighted.  

Images from the Internet

Not all images found on the internet are free for the taking.  Students should investigate the copyright status prior to using an image.  Just citing an image is not enough.  

Students can use the Library's ImageQuest database for copyright cleared images.  

Google Image search has a feature that allows users to limit their search based on usage rights.

Google Images Filter


Additionally, Creative Commons is a resource that allows users to share and use images and other creations.  Sharing rights are determined by the image owner and frequently allow for non-commercial re-use.  For more information, visit the Creative Commons website.

File Sharing

It is illegal to download copyrighted materials such as movies or music without the copyright holders' permission.  Using file sharing sites illegally while using a college computer puts the college at risk for legal action.

Posting Materials

Sharing copyrighted material by posting it to websites, including social media, even those behind a password (such as Moodle) should be avoided.  Linking to online material (authorized by the copyright holder) is recommended in lieu of digital copies.

Photocopies & Scanning Materials

Photocopies or scans must fall under Fair Use