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Messenger boy working for Mackay Telegraph Company. Said fifteen years old. Exposed to Red Light dangers. Location: Waco, Texas. (LOC)

By creating a Ram Pages site for any of your courses at VCU, you’re a part of the thriving exchange of ideas that lives on the open web. This means many different things, of course, but here’s one you might not have thought of: you will now have a reason to care about copyright. Copyright impacts you both as a creator and curator of images, words, videos, or anything else you generated for your RamPages blog or any other course website associated with a VCU course.

VCU Libraries has created helpful guides for copyright for undergraduate students and for graduate students. Read these carefully to learn more about copyright, finding open content on the web, and an innovative way to share your work with other learners: Creative Commons.

What is Creative Commons, you ask? Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps you grant others permission to use your work under the conditions of your choice. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but work alongside it, allowing you to keep your copyrights while permitting others to make certain uses of your work. You can choose to permit or deny commercial (for profit) uses of your work, the modification of your work to create a new work, and whether or not any new works that use your work have to be licensed under the same terms that you chose.

We hope that after learning more about Creative Commons,you will choose to share your work with the wider world by granting a Creative Commons license to all the content of your blog. We recommend using the CC-BY-NC-SA Creative Commons License, as it allows others to reuse your work, prevents your work from being used for commercial purposes without your permission, and requires that any newly created works are shared with the same open license. If your blog is selected for the Great VCU Bike Race Book, adding a Creative Commons license to your blog will also make the process of publishing much simpler.

How to Add a Creative Commons License Notice to Your Blog

    1. In your Rampages dashboard, go to the menu item “Widgets,” under “Appearance.”
    2. Click on the widget labeled “Text,” select “Footer Widget Area,” and click “Add Widget.” Your widget will appear to the right. Give the widget a title, something like “Creative Commons License Notice.”
    3. Use the Creative Commons license chooser to generate the text for your widget. If you want to license your page with the CC-BY-NC-SA license, make the following selections in the “License Features” box, or make the selections that create the type of license you would prefer to use.
      • Allow adaptations? Yes, as long as others share alike.
      • Allow commercial uses? No.
    4. Copy and paste the text in the “Have a web page?” box into the “Content” section of your text widget and click “Save.” The license notice should now appear at the bottom of your blog.

Interested in learning more?  Here are a few more helpful resources:

The University of Minnesota’s library hosts an excellent introduction to copyright. California State University–Channel Islands’s introduction includes videos.

Looking to find open access resources? Take a look at VCU’s Scholars Compass. If you would like to explore the public domain, Stanford University’s fair use center offers some helpful background, and Wikimedia Commons can be fruitful as well.

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