Copyrighting Your Own Work

As a Harper College employee, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the College's Intellectual Property Policy prior to beginning a project where you fully intend to own the copyright.

You may want to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office; see their online registration option.

An alternative to registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, is using a Creative Commons license. A Creative Commons license does not follow traditional copyright rules, and is seen as a simple standardized substitute. "Educators and learners use our licenses to share and collaboratively, [to] build textbooks, lectures, and lesson plans... We believe that scientific research, journals, and data should be available to everyone, and have legal tools that help make this happen."

It’s true that a work is automatically copyrighted once it is put into a fixed (tangible) format.  But if you would like to share your own work with others, and want to make sure that you are properly credited, you may want to add a Creative Commons license to your work.  After sharing your work, you might also agree that others can copy, distribute, display, and perform your work—even make derivative works based upon it, so long as you are properly credited.  “Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.” Watch this video to see how Creative Commons works.  See how the Creative Commons license works with flickr.

Course materials available from the world’s top universities are searchable on the Creative Commons site.  If you are using Creative Commons licensed/copyrighted materials, there is no need to ask for permission.  However, you must cite the content creator, to use it freely without issue.  Visit OpenAttribute to download the free add-on for the Firefox browser.