Principles on Copyright, Fair Use, and Open Licensing | National Humanities Center


Principles on Copyright, Fair Use, and Open Licensing

How to use NHC Resources in Teaching and Research

What are NHC’s goals in publishing these resources?

The National Humanities Center (NHC) is committed to broadening access to humanities scholarship. For over two decades, the NHC has connected humanities research to working classrooms by publishing thousands of authoritative, culturally representative pedagogical resources created by scholars and vetted by teachers. NHC resources are intended for wide use and reuse by educators, journalists, and researchers. These resources are grounded in primary sources to encourage critical thinking, close reading, and informed participation in civic life.

How can I use, distribute, and share NHC resources?

Unless otherwise marked, NHC original resources are licensed CC BY 4.0 whenever possible, and include other inserts that are CC-licensed, in the public domain, or permitted by fair use. Our decisions about incorporating third-party materials are driven by pedagogical and scholarly judgment. More specifically, current US fair use law clearly enables the core practices of critique, illustration, and quotation in humanities scholarship. Relying on fair use to create effective and accessible materials also improves the accessibility, usefulness, and durability of NHC collections. For more information about our fair use decision making, please see the Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources, Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, and other fair use guidance. For questions or problems with the accessibility, copyright status, or technical functioning of our online materials, please contact Brooke Andrade, vice president for library and digital services.

Do I need additional permissions and licensing?

NHC materials released under a CC BY license are intended to be widely used. If you are meeting the terms of the license, then no additional permission from NHC is needed (and separately if your use is fair use—such as quotation or critique, no permission is needed). When reusing, remixing, and redistributing NHC resources, please keep in mind that our fair use decision making may not extend to uses outside the original educational context of these materials. If you are reusing these materials, or disassembling them into their constituent parts, you should make your own fair use analysis.

How should I attribute NHC materials?

NHC materials should be cited when referenced, reproduced, or used in other sources. Include the names of the creators, title, and publication date, title, URL, and other details as required by the citation style you are using. Additionally, direct quotations should be accurately reproduced and enclosed in quotation marks, while paraphrased information must be properly rephrased and cited.

logo of the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) is the internationally recognized intellectual property and information law research and academic program of American University Washington College of Law. They have collaborated with the NHC to develop these principles and to apply them to NHC content. Their prolific IP faculty has expertise in every major topic of the field, including copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, cyberlaw, and international IP. This project will build on PIJIP’s existing work, networks, and expertise from the project developing the Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources.

  • Prudence Adler, MLS, Senior Policy Fellow, Project on Copyright and Open Licensing, American University Washington College of Law
  • Will Cross, JD, MLS, Director, Open Knowledge Center & Head of Information Policy, North Carolina State University
  • Meredith Jacob, JD, Project Director, Creative Commons USA, American University Washington College of Law
  • Peter Jaszi, JD, Founder, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic and Professor Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law