In addition to Creative Commons, there are also a number of other great alternatives available to educators wishing to access non-copyrighted materials.

  • PD = Public Domain
  • OER = Open Educational Resources
  • FFE = Free For Education
  • NEALS = National Educational Access Licence for School
  • GNU = General Public Licence

PD: Public Domain publicdomain.png

Public domain works are those whose intellectual property rights no longer apply, having expired or otherwise been dissolved.
Examples include the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven, most of the early silent film and the formulae of Newtonian physics.
Works created before the existence of copyright and patent laws also form part of the public domain. For example,
the Bible and the inventions of Archimedes are in the public domain, but copyright may exist in translations or new formulations
of these works. Some works may never fully lapse into the public domain - for example, a perpetual crown copyright is held for
the Authorized King James Version of the Bible in the UK.

When you use materials from the Public Domain, there is no need to attribute or acknowledge these works.
Copyright expires at different times in different countries.

Since 2006 in Australia, copyright generally expires 70 years after the death of the creator. A detailed summary of this is here.


OER: Open Educational Resources 2012-06-14_1253.png


Resources under this licence share some fundamental values:

  • Resources are free for any individual to use
  • Resources are licensed for unrestricted distribution
  • Resources are free to adapt, translate, re-mix, and improve
Further information can be found on the Michigan State University website and the OER Commons

FFE: Free for EducationFfEblue239pixels.jpg


‘Free for education’ (FFE) is similar to OER in that permission is granted for the material to be used for educational purposes.

However, FFE material may not permit a teacher to communicate, modify or share the material publicly.
Check the terms and conditions of use of the material.
Many websites are FFE because their terms and conditions allow copying for educational purposes.

NEALS: National Educational Access Licence for SchoolsNeals_logo_square.png


A licence between the Commonwealth Dept. of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the state & territory education departments, and the Catholic and independent school sectors.
NEALS allows schools to copy and communicate material from each other’s websites and publications (but not films and music) for educational use, free of charge.
To download the NEALS logo go to : http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/services/pages/leglegal/32470/

Further information about NEALS can be accessed from Smart Copying-
and a useful presentation on Neals from Delia Browne, of the National Copyright Unit, Schools Resourcing Taskforce, MCEETYA, can be accessed here:

GNU: General Public Licence & Open Sourcegnu.png

A brief history:
In 1986, a very inventive programmer named Richard Stallman developed a ‘C compiler’, which is a complex part of any operating system
(such as Windows or Snow Leopard). The difference between Stallman’s work and that of the programmers working for Microsoft or Apple
was that his C compiler was created in free code.

In order to ensure that no enterprising programmer took this code and incorporated it into a piece of software that he or she would then put
on the market, Stallman created something that changed history – the GNU General Public License. This license was the beginning of the
copyleft (as opposed to copyright) movement. The licence required two things – that anything released under the licence be made freely
available and that any software that incorporated it employ the same license – in other words, people could share the code freely and use
it however they chose, as long as whatever they created using the code was also licenced in the same way, and was freely shared with others.

The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed to take away your freedom to share and change the works.
By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program--
to make sure it remains free software for all its users.

There are a variety of GNU licences, and it can become quite complex, however it is good to know of their existence. If you are interested in learning more,
go to: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html