I have always used materials from the WWW without any problems, under the auspices of fair-use. Why should I use OER instead?
Fair use is a four-factor balancing test. While educational use of copyrighted work is a relatively well-established fair use, it is often difficult to predict with certainty whether a particular use would be considered a fair one by courts. When you use OER, you have more certainty regarding what you may do with the resource, because the open license attached to the OER will specify what is permitted. Openly licensed works have additional benefits, such as being enforceable globally (whereas fair use is limited to the U.S.). Additionally, fair use only applies to your own use of existing works; the doctrine does not necessarily permit you to adapt or derive those works and then share those derivatives with your colleagues. By using OER, you open up all manner of additional possibilities for sharing your insights and ideas and making your work have an impact far greater than would otherwise be possible.
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