It's important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:
Adapted from MIT Libraries, used with permission under CC BY-NC 2.0
Copyright protection begins the moment a work is, "fixed in any tangible medium of expression." This means that as soon as something is created the creator owns the copyright. The owner has exclusive rights to share and profit from the work, and to create derivative works based on the original.
Fair use is, "a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances." There are four factors which must be taken into account when determining if a use of a work falls under fair use. More information about this may be seen on the right.
Creative Commons (CC) licenses enable the owner of a work to allow another party to re-use, adapt, and re-create with their work. Different types of CC licenses allow for different levels of re-use. Regardless of the type of CC license you should always cite and/or attribute the work you use to the original creator. This link describes each type of license and what sort of attribution must be made to re-use the material.
Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses—such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research—as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use.
The Four Factors
All of these factors must be taken into account in order to determine if a use of a work falls under fair use.