Copyright and Resource Licences

Resource Licences

What are Creative Commons licences?

Creative Commons is a public copyright licence created to support the spirit of sharing for free in an open internet. The use of a Creative Commons licence means an author can give people the right to share, use and build upon a resource that they have created.

We're always listening to our users’ feedback and we know that being able to download, change, adapt and share resources is a key part of a teacher’s working life. Creative Commons facilitates and protects this process.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice. 
 

Why choose a Creative Commons licence for my free resources?

When educators share resources informally with colleagues, their expectations and conditions for sharing may not be explicit. When sharing resources more widely, it is important to be clear about the expectations that we have.

By openly licensing resources, clear permission communicated by specific licensing terms has been provided up front so that school staff, and anyone else, can reuse and, depending upon the licensing terms, edit and adapt existing works to best suit their teaching aims and the needs of their learners. These adaptations can also be freely shared with others. Open licences, including the Creative Commons licences, provide educators and everyone else with a clear, simple way to specify how resources can be used and reused, and how the work should be credited.

You use Tes Resources because it provides a bank of education materials created for teachers, by teachers. By applying a Creative Commons licence, you can be clear on just how you want people to use your resource.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. ​Extracted and remixed from OER Guidance for Schools (2014), by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo and Josie Fraser. Published by Leicester City Council, available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice. 

Which Creative Commons licences can I choose from?

We ask that every free resource uploaded to the Tes site is given a Creative Commons licence. There are lots of CC licenses to choose from, but we have decided to offer the three that best apply to your resources.

What are my options?

The licence that is closest to how your resources are currently shared on the site is the Attribution ShareAlike Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA) licence. This means that you would continue to share your resource for free and give permission to others to share it in the same way.

Share alike (CC-BY-SA) - Share and share alike (this is our default recommendation).
Attribution (CC-BY) - Share openly (this allows the widest use, and is the only licence encouraged in some countries).
No derivatives (CC-BY-ND) - Share, but don't modify.
 

Why is Tes not allowing users to make use of the non-commercial variants of the Creative Commons licences?

Tes currently offers the CC-BY-SA ("Share alike") licence as our default. By definition, it restricts reuse of the resource so it is shared in the same way as the original. As all the resources with CC-BY-SA on Tes are shared for free, this means that anyone who reuses them must also share them for free.

For this reason we do not consider an additional non-commercial licence to be necessary, but are always interested in users' feedback.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice. 

How do I use Creative Commons content when creating resources? (images, text, etc.)

All Creative Commons licences require attribution. The easiest way to do this properly is by using a browser plug-in which is available here.

Other restrictions include:

“Non-derivative” which means you may only use the content as it appears and in full (you cannot partially use it, or change it).
“Non-commercial” which means you cannot use the content for commercial purposes (any content with this licence cannot be used for paid-for resources.
“Share-alike” content may only be included when the resource it appears in is licensed under the same licence as the content being used.

For further guidance on how to attribute material correctly visit:https://wiki.creativecommons.org/Best_practices_for_attribution

If you are using images that do not require attribution, please include a note in your resource stating the source of the image, such as the website where you found it.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice. 

Where can I find more information about the Tes Teaching Resource Licence?

You can find out more about the Teaching Resource Licence here. It applies to our paid resources and to some older free resources predating the introduction of Creative Commons licences to Tes. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Copyright

What is copyright?

Copyright protects an author’s ownership rights to their work.

It can exist in different types of works, including texts, images, photographs, art, poetry, plays, music and films. Copyright can therefore exist in resources uploaded to the Tes Resources platform.

Subject to certain exceptions, copyright entitles the copyright owner to control the use and distribution of a protected work by any other persons, whether it is a whole work that is used or just a substantial part.

After a certain period of time, copyright expires and works go into the public domain. Any person can use a work in the public domain without obtaining the prior consent of the original owner.

This website discusses copyright under English law. You will need to ensure that you comply with the copyright laws of any other countries in which you upload or download resources.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself. This means that if you have an idea for a great teaching plan, it will only become protected by copyright once it is recorded in writing (or otherwise). It would not be protected by copyright if it was simply in your head and you told someone else about it orally.

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, or other written work, the work also has to be original, which (broadly speaking) means that its author spent independent effort to create it and did not copy it from other works. 

Note that you cannot stop someone who has independently, and without copying your work, created the same or a substantially similar work to yours. In this situation, both those works would be protected by copyright in their own right and each copyright owner could prevent others from copying his/her protected work.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

What does copyright mean for my resources?

It means that you must check that you own the copyright to all content in your resources before you upload them to Tes Resources. If you do not own the copyright, then you must:

-          either obtain the prior consent from the copyright owner to upload them

-          or ensure that you can rely on certain permitted uses under applicable law

-         please familiarise yourself with our updated content standards and guidance on licensing along with our terms,

otherwise you could be liable for infringing the copyright of another person.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

What does copyright mean for my lessons on Blendspace or Tes Teach?

If you are creating a lesson as a form of a private playlist for your own use in the classroom, you should have the same freedoms as you would when making any projects for in-school educational use. However, if you have made your lesson public, please be aware that items within it may be protected by copyright - just as they would be if you included them in a blog or a lesson plan you would share with your department. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

A resource on the Tes Resources platform infringes my copyright. What should I do?

Please follow the instructions outlined in our Takedown Policy for copyright infringement claims.

The Copyright Policy also sets out information about what to do if your resources have been taken down due to an alleged copyright infringement.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Are there any exceptions to copyright rules?

Yes, you can use work created by others without their prior consent in certain circumstances permitted by law.

See “Can I ever quote from or use work created by others in my own resources?” for a description of some of these circumstances.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Can I ever quote from or use work created by others in my own resources?

With prior consent

Yes, you can always use the work of others in your resources if you obtain their prior consent to such use (e.g. by obtaining a licence from them). If you are employed, your employer will typically have obtained all necessary consents so that you can carry on your duties in the course of your employment. For instance, schools will typically hold licences to photocopy extracts of books or to record television broadcasts, allowing their teachers to carry out those acts for the purposes of teaching their classes.

However, such general consents obtained by your school may not cover resources that you create and upload to the Tes Resources platform. This means that you may have to obtain additional consent from the owner of the material you intend to use and upload.  

Without prior consent

You can also use the work of others in your resources without obtaining their prior consent if you use the work of others in certain ways permitted by law.

Here are some examples to help you along your way (but this is not an exhaustive list). Note that in each of the following cases:

  • your use must also constitute “fair dealing” (See “What is'fair dealing'?” for more information); and
  • if possible, you must acknowledge the owner of the work (See “How do I need to acknowledge the owner of the copyright in another work?” for further information)


Quotation

You can quote from works to which you do not own copyright without obtaining permission, but only if the extent of the quotation is not more than is required for your specific purposes.

As a rule of thumb, this means that you can usually use one or two lines from a poem, or a couple of sentences from a novel, in the resource that you are creating. But you cannot copy the entire poem or the whole (or even a chapter) of the book.

Please note that the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office has indicated that this exception is unlikely to apply to the use of photographs.

Criticism/review

You can use extracts from the work of others in order to criticise or review, without obtaining the owner’s permission. For example, if you want to criticise or review someone else’s teaching materials, you could copy an extract of the work in question to prove a point that you want to make, but you cannot copy the whole work of the other person.  

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

What is “fair dealing”?

“Fair dealing” is a way in which you can use the work of others in your resources without obtaining their prior consent. (See “Can I ever quote from or use work created by others in my resources?” for further information).

There is no specific legal definition of “fair dealing”. It will be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case.

However, the test commonly used is, “How would a fair-minded and honest person deal with the work?"

Two relevant factors to consider are:
 

  • Does your use of the work of another cause the owner of the copyright to lose revenue? If it does, your use is unlikely to be “fair dealing”. Similarly, will you obtain a substantial financial benefit from using the work of another? If so, your use is again unlikely to be “fair dealing”.
  • Is the amount of the work that you have taken from others necessary, reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances? If you took all of the work of another, your use is unlikely to be “fair dealing”. But if you have only taken a small extract that was reasonable to fulfil the permitted purposes, then your use is likely to be “fair dealing”.


This means, for example, you may not use so much of the original material that someone would not need to buy the original. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

How do I need to acknowledge the owner of the copyright in another work?

If you use a work protected by someone else’s copyright under the “fair dealing” exceptions, you need to sufficiently acknowledge the owner of the copyright work.

This typically means identifying (where possible):
 

  • the name of the owner; and
  • the title of the work that has been copied or a short description of the work so that it can be identified.


(See “Can I ever quote from or use work created by others in my resources?” for further information in respect of the “fair dealing” exceptions).

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Can I use images, photographs, audio or video under the “fair dealing” exception?

Images, especially famous logos or characters, are protected by copyright and, possibly, other intellectual property rights, such as trade mark protection. Examples include images of Mickey Mouse or Batman.

As a general rule, it is permissible to use an image, a photograph, audio or video without obtaining the prior consent of its owner under the “fair dealing” exception, and whether “fair dealing” exists will be assessed on an individual basis. (See “What is 'fair dealing'?" for further information)

However, the rule of thumb is that the use of a full image or a full photograph will typically not constitute “fair dealing”. So, in practice, this means that you are unlikely to be able to use the sorts of images mentioned above in resources that you create, unless you have obtained permission to use the images from the copyright/trade mark owner or unless you have bought the right to use the images in question (eg by paying for a licence from a website). If you are planning to put your content up for sale, then you will also need a licence or other permission that allows use for a commercial purpose. So, if you wish to use someone else's material, check that the licence under which the materials are offered allow you to do what you intend to do.

The use of short clips of audio and video is more likely to be permitted under the “fair dealing” exception. Providing links to content on a video-hosting site, such as YouTube, is also typically permitted as this content has been, or at least claims to be, made available to be used in this way by its author. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

How can I find images or other content that is safe to use?

Many images that you find online cannot be used without obtaining the prior consent of their owner due to copyright protection.

However, some are available for use with a licence from the copyright owner. We set out a list of websites below which contain images which you may be able to use when creating your resources.

Before you use any image from any one of the following links, you should carefully check the licence terms and conditions under which the images are offered to make sure that it is suitable for your purposes. You should also be mindful of changes that each website might make in their policies and disclaimers. 

Some useful sources for images include:

http://search.creativecommons.org/ 
http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons

The following digital image and clip-art libraries may also be of interest:

• morgueFile: http://www.morguefile.com/  
• Openclipart: https://openclipart.org/  
• WPClipart: http://www.wpclipart.com/  
• Free-graphics.com: http://www.free-graphics.com/  

See our Author Academy for more detail on how you can source content for your resources. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Does copyright last forever?

No. A good rule of thumb is that most copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. This means that most things published before the 20th century should be in the public domain and therefore free to use. However, it is always best to check this before using anything that doesn't belong to you.

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

I live outside of the United Kingdom. Do these copyright FAQs apply to me?

Copyright is a territorial right, and this website discusses copyright considerations under English law. You will need to ensure that you comply with the laws of any other countries where you upload or download resources. 

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

I have a specific question about whether I own copyright to my resources, can you help me?

Regrettably, we are not qualified to help you with such matters. We cannot give any legal advice and we cannot comment on individual circumstances. We do have, however, a dedicated section on copyright in our Author Academy with general tips and guidance.

If, after reading the information of this website, you are unsure as to whether there may be a copyright issue with any of your resources, we suggest that you seek legal advice.  

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Where can I find additional information about copyright?

If you would like additional information in respect of copyright, here are some other helpful resources:

UK Intellectual Property Office – Copyright related materials

Exceptions to copyright: Education and Teaching

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Can I take resources written by someone else on the Tes Resources platform, make some changes and then upload the changed version as my own and sell it on the Tes Resources platform?

The short answer is that it depends on how much you “changed” the initial work.

If your work is a copy of all or a substantial part of the initial work (e.g., you just changed colours or names, or you simply moved a few things around, but you didn't change the structure or the main theme or important aspects of the initial work), then you likely cannot do this without the prior consent of the copyright owner of the initial work.

But you might be able to do this if you simply took inspiration from the initial work but then created a completely new work, independently, which is not a copy of all or a substantial art of the initial work.

The test as to whether a work is a substantial copy of another will ultimately depend on the individual circumstances of each case, taking into account the quantity of content that has been copied but also the quality of the content that has been copied.  

Information contained within these pages is intended as general guidance only. This information is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon as legal advice.

Does copyright apply to both free and premium resources?

Yes. Copyright laws apply to anything you upload and share on the Tes platform, as your resources become accessible to others. There are some differences in what you can share for commercial and non-commercial purposes, so it is important to check the licence for each individual piece of work you want to use. Some images, for example, may be available for download and use in non-commercial projects, so you might be able to include these in your free resources. Others, however, might be licenced for personal use only, which means that you cannot use them at all in any of the work you upload on Tes. 

Resources shared under Creative Commons licences will be restricted for reuse depending on the type of licence chosen (see above). 

Content Standards

Tes Content Standards

Tes Resources is a place for teachers to share original, high quality teaching materials that they would trust to use in their own schools.

As the hosting service, we expect our users to act responsibly and in line with our Author Code. We’ll act swiftly to remove materials when we’re alerted to them if they do not meet our standards.

Please familiarise yourself with our updated content standards and guidance on licensing along with our terms.