Here’s a new course from Treehouse on how to copyright your web work — and how to use others’ images, code, etc. without getting yourself into legal hot water.

The Treehouse lessons, called Copyright Basics, cover protecting your own stuff as well as how to respond when someone uses your work inappropriately. But they also get into the niceties of media law, topics like fair use and public domain.

Most important, we think, is that the course doesn’t just cover how to lock down your work; it explores how to responsibly share what you’ve created with more open licenses and copyright alternatives like Creative Commons.

“Understanding the basics of copyright and licensing is essential for anyone working in a creative field, and that includes web designers, developers, and mobile devs,” said Treehouse founder Ryan Carson in a statement on the news.

Editor’s note: Our upcoming DevBeat conference, Nov. 12-13 in San Francisco, is a hands-on developer event packed with master classes, presentations, Q&As, and hackathons, all aimed at boosting your skillset in code, security, hardware, and career development. Register today!

“No matter what you’re doing on the web, you’re viewing, downloading, and working with the copyrighted work of others, so it’s vital to have a good understanding of the fundamentals of copyright law in the United States.”

Here’s a preview of what the course entails:

Right now is a very interesting time in the world of software IP and patents. As battles over innovation ownership heat up, developer resources such as GitHub’s new licensing navigation tool.

If you’d like to learn more about ownership of software and online work, you can also check out VentureBeat’s first-ever developer conference, DevBeat. I heard a rumor that a famous free-software hacker is going to be giving a keynote talk on patents. Sign up now while earlybird rates apply!