Q.  We would like to use in our web based, online, AP Art History course some artwork for which permission has been granted to copy, distribute and/or modify under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.  Since the license permits copying and distribution, would this allow for use in an on-line course?

A.  It is important to read the license statement in its entirety. One can only use the material as per the rights granted in the license.  The absence of any statement restricting a particular use, such as on-line, does not automatically grant the user such rights.

In regard to the rights granted to copy and distribute, the question remains does this only mean making physical copies and distributing, or does the license extend to  making a digital copy and making it available on-line. If you download images from a site that clearly grants such user rights, whether in reference to the GNU Free Documentation License, Creative Commons or other such sources, then you could use those images. If  not sure how to interpret the license statement, I would recommend making contact with the licensing source.  Assuming the action desired is permissible,  full credit still needs to be given to your sources.

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