Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons

An Active-Learning Exercise for Studio Art Students


  • Arthur Jason Boston Murray State University Libraries



This article describes an active-learning exercise intended to help teach copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licenses. In the exercise students use a worksheet to draw original pictures, create derivative pictures on tracing paper, select Creative Commons licenses, and explore commercial usage, fair use, and copyright infringement. Librarian-instructors may find the completed worksheets to be useful aids to supplement copyright lectures; student perspectives will be integral because they are generating the examples used in discussion. Although a scholarly communication librarian developed this exercise to help introduce some basic copyright information to an undergraduate studio art and design class, the exercise can be performed in a general educational setting.

Author Biography

Arthur Jason Boston, Murray State University Libraries

Scholarly Communication Librarian, Assistant Professor, University Libraries. Coordinator, Office of Research and Creative Activity. Murray State University.


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Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 106, 107 (1976).

Creative Commons. (n.d.). Share your work [Webpage]. Retrieved November 11, 2019, from

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Stim, Rich. (n.d.). “What is fair use?” Copyright & Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries. Retrieved September 24, 2018 from

US Copyright Office. (2017). Circular 1: Copyright basics [PDF]. Retrieved September 28, 2018 from



How to Cite

Boston, A. J. (2020). Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons: An Active-Learning Exercise for Studio Art Students. Journal of Copyright in Education &Amp; Librarianship, 3(3), 1–12.