How do I deal with copyright?
Are you wondering how to use and reference sources in the materials you create? Read on!
Sofie Bastiaansen avatar
Written by Sofie Bastiaansen
Updated over a week ago

Disclaimer: This document is not intended as legal advice. Responsibility for copyright of content created in Grasple lies with its creator, not with Grasple.

General advice: use open source content

If possible, it is recommended to use open source content as the basis for any new material you create in Grasple.

In particular, content licensed under some of the Creative Commons (CC) licenses is useful, as CC licences come with instructions on when they can be used, adapted, and how to attribute the original works.

You can find an overview of the different CC licenses available here.

  • Works licensed under both CC-BY and CC-BY-SA can be remixed, adapted and built upon in Grasple without concern, as long as they are properly attributed (see below).

  • CC-BY-NC or CC-BY-NC-SA could also be used, but some unclarity regarding the NC clause exists, so this may require you to check the way the author of the original work interprets the non-commercial clause.

  • Other open source licenses also exist, but be sure to check the specific license of the work you’d like to base your materials on.

In the text of your question, try to avoid referring to content that is not open source or available in Grasple. For example, avoid statements like “you can find more details on this in example 4 of book X”. Not only could this be a violation of copyright, it also means that the exercise is not as useful for people that do not own the book, which goes against the idea of open education that Grasple believes in.

Math and algebraic questions usually can not be copyrighted, but text and solutions can

Copyright laws aren’t as black and white as you might think, and can vary a lot per situation, country and type of organisation. However, to the best of our knowledge, ideas and general concepts cannot be copyrighted. This implies that algebraic math and mathematical questions can not be copyrighted, only the “particular expression of an idea” can. Word problems may well be copyrighted.

When basing exercises on a maths book we advise the following rule of thumb:

  • equations and formulas can be used

  • text cannot be used

Be careful when using collections of equations and exercises, as the composition of the collection can be viewed as a “particular expression of an idea” and can be copyrighted.

Images are almost always copyrighted

Unless taken from open source material, most images are copyrighted. It is recommended to create your own images; or in the case of graphs, use Grasple’s graphing tool.

Attributions in Grasple

How to attribute the material your work is based on, depends on which license the original content falls under. Contact us (through the chat function in the bottom right) when you need to attribute material in Grasple, and we will implement the attribution following the guidelines of the license.

When you use the ‘Copy exercise’ feature in the edit screen of an exercise, please note that the attribution of the original is not copied to the new version. To add an attribution to the copy, please contact us.

You can find an example of an attribution in Grasple in the footer of this exercise.

Publishing your materials on Grasple under open license

Grasple currently manually curates the exercises that are published under open license. If there are exercises you’d be willing to share, please send us a list of exercises and their attributions and licenses, and we’ll put them into the system. In the future, you will be able to do this yourself. For now, we’re there to help you with that!

Please feel free to contact us through the chat function in the bottom right corner of the webpage.

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