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Copyright clearance is the process of seeking permission from the copyright holder to distribute his/her work.

If you wish to distribute selected readings widely or make selected readings digitally available on a website then you need to seek permission.
If your work contains third-party (i.e. not created by you) content (e.g. images, text, charts) and you wish to distribute your work widely (e.g. as an OER) – whether in person, or electronically or online – then you must undergo copyright clearance to obtain permission for third-party content.

In this section we look at:

What are some example situations that require copyright clearance?

  1. At some universities in Africa, access to the internet is limited. As a result, academics may want to supply third-party readings or articles to their students in print form or on a CD ROM/DVD for a specific course. This is the use of material for education purposes for a specific number of users. For those documents that have conventional copyright, permission needs to be sought from copyright holders, or an agency operating on behalf of copyright holders, to print and distribute the readings or articles to the students.
  2. Some universities may have sufficient internet access and may be able to supply the readings or articles in digital format through the internet or a local intranet. This situation may include documents to be placed on the university intranet under password protection, so that the number of people who will be downloading the readings or articles can be limited. Depending on the type of access and jurisdication, local law may require permission from copyright holders for this use.
  3. Universities or organizations may want to release third-party readings or articles as OER. This would mean that these would be made into freely accessible resources (either posted on a website or supplied in print form or CD ROM/DVD), likely under a Creative Commons licence. As OER are publicly accessible, this use would require permission from copyright holders.