Copyright, permissions, Creative Commons—oh my! Did I draw the short stick when Mentoring Monday assignments were being given out? I know many people find these topics overwhelming or stressful.

So, my first point is one I tell my students: take these topics seriously, but don’t let them be overwhelming, because there are resources and help at hand!

Almost everything I know about copyright, permissions, and Creative Commons is thanks to two of our University of Prince Edward Island librarians, Simon Lloyd and Donald Moses, who also created the material for the “Open Access and Copyright” page on the Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies website. This page includes clear explanations, core questions to ask yourself as you prepare your Journal submission, and relevant linked resources.

Creative Commons:

Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies material is licensed by an Attribution 4.0 International Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0).

What does that mean? To quote Creative Commons language, users can “share” and “adapt” Journal materials as long as they give “attribution” to the creator.
What about my copyright/intellectual property as a Journal author? You still hold copyright as the author, and every article clearly indicates author copyright.
Why did the Journal editors choose this licence? So that Montgomery scholarship can be shared and used far and wide! For example, teachers and students can integrate Journal material at length in their work without any fear of copyright infringement, as long as they give appropriate credit and apply the same CC licence, of course.

Still have questions? The Creative Commons and Journal websites have more detail.

And now let’s turn to some thoughts on tackling copyright/permissions/Creative Commons licences by conceptualizing, consulting, and communicating.


To conceptualize your submission, you want to think about what materials—text, visuals, multimedia—are necessary for the argument, what can provide context, and what will make the piece more persuasive and visually engaging.

  • Start thinking about the image that will make an excellent thumbnail/banner image for your article. (Trinna S. Frever uses an Emily Climbs cover.)  
  • Gather materials that are necessary for your argument. The Journal takes advantage of its online platform to include multimedia: the images in Carolyn Collins’s video and Mary Beth Cavert’s article are central to their arguments about scrapbooks and postcards, respectively.
  • Be inspired by the many (public domain) images that archives, museums, galleries, and libraries are now sharing online. One example is the UPEI Library/LMMI’s archive.
  • Create your own material! Great examples include the photos in Bonnie Tulloch’s essay. (If the Journal’s student editorial assistants have time, they might be able to help you create materials—just ask!)


  • Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies resources. The Journal’s “Open Access and Copyright” page guides you through your choice of third-party materials with the following questions (and explanations!):

1) Do you need to use material—text, images, or other media—created by someone else in your submission?

2) Is the third-party material in the public domain?

3) Is your use of third-party material substantial?

4) How do I obtain permissions?

This page also includes helpful linked resources, including:  


  • Local experts. Talk to your librarians and other local experts—some universities have copyright offices, for example.
  • Copyright holders. Talk to people and institutions who house materials or own the copyright: some require permissions and payment, some just permissions, others just like to be kept in the loop about how their materials are being used.
  • Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies editors ( can assist you in parts of this process. For example, we may be able to assist in the process by helping to identify rights holders (especially in terms of Montgomery-related material), to locate contact information, and to point you in the right direction regarding other general permissions or copyright issues. Note: It is the final responsibility of the contributor to secure the required permissions.

Learn more about the Journal at and contact us at

Submitted by Kate Scarth (University of Prince Edward Island)
Editor, Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies

Next (May 10, 17): “Responding to Peer Reviews,” by Rita Bode

Banner image of PEI waves. Anne Victoria Photography, 2018