Tag Archives: Creative Commons

The Origin and Intent of Copyrights

This week I attended a live event via Adobe Connect in which David Brin presented – Education and Today’s Economy.  This was part of KU Village’s 2009 online conference.

Mr. Brin was an enthusiastic speaker and while I was not previously aware of his work (fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, and political commentary) I was intrigued by the information presented on Patents and Copyrights. He pointed out that the origin of Patents and Copyrights was to create a system that encouraged people to share their innovations with the rest of society (Benjamin Franklin, I think?)  An individual could register his or her work, benefit from it for a specified period of time, and then it would be available for anyone.

Over time, Patents and Copyrights have become ways to keep your innovations from being shared. They protect the innovator’s rights and through extensions can go on and on.

This has implications in education as we struggle with intellectual property definitions and policies and explore the possibilities of open resources. Encouraging people to share their innovations, in a more open way, is a movement in education with the ability to impact a lot of what we do as course designers, developers, and instructors. This is especially the case as we work with technologies that are changing the way we do things at such a fast pace.

For more information on…

Open licensing options  – check out Creative Commons licensing  creativecommons.org/ both for your own work and to find work others have decided to share.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – visit http://www.uspto.gov/

U.S. Copyright Office – visit http://www.copyright.gov/

Can we post this in the course?

Working as an instructional designer in a higher education setting to develop online courses, I find myself answering this question on a pretty regular basis. Deciding what is “Fair Use” can get complicated. What is okay to make available or present in a traditional classroom, may not be okay to post online. The act of adding it to a course website  is distribution and can violate the copyright of a document, presentation, video, recording…. Earlier this year I found a document that helps.

ARL’s Know Your Copy Rights website offers a helpful brochure subtitled: Using works in your teaching – What You Can Do: Tips for faculty and teaching assistants in higher education. This is a user-friendly, six page document that provides the essential information about using material in courses – face-to-face and online. Four factors are outlined to help you make a decision about using copyrighted works without permission. In brief:

  1. Purpose and character of the material – nonprofit, educational use? restricted access to students?
  2. Nature of the copyrighted material – published, out-of-print?
  3. Amount of the material used – part or entire work?
  4. Market effect of the material – is the material for sale?

The last page provides an easy matrix to assist you. I have urged faculty and course developers alike to review this if there are any questions at all. There are many shades of gray here, but the legal-speak is at a bare minimum. The author(s) are trying to assist those of us out here making these kinds of decisions without the benefit of a law degree.

This is a brochure of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), published in 2007. Thank you, ARL, for making this available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License!

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative CommonsWith so many people already interested in providing and using open resources it is important I think that there is some type of organization to the movement. The non-profit group Creative Commons (CC) provides some leadership in this area, particularly in licensing of these resources. The CC website proclaims that the group is “dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”

While these various license types (there are more – these are just the “main” ones) seem to cover a lot of ground, there are still some areas left for interpretation. What kinds of materials can or should be licensed this way? CC recommends other options, such as Open Source Initiative, for open software licensing considerations.

Several other blogs have addressed the question of “how should I license my own original work?” The CC licenses provide some key issues to consider:

1) Commercial v. non-commercial – should others be allowed to offer the material for a fee?

2) Share alike – should others be required to make their versions and revisions of the original work available for yet others to revise?

3) Derivatives – should the original work be considered only as-is, as a whole, without changes or can the original work be modified or used in part?

Below is a summary of the primary types of licenses CC addresses. These get more restrictive as you move down the list.

Attribution (CC-BY)

This license type allows anyone to use your work in whole or in part as long as you are given credit in a way you specify. This material can be modified as well, as long as credit to the original author/creator is given. Commercial redistribution is okay.

Attribution – Share Alike (CC- BY, SA)

A little more restrictive, this license type has the same requirements as CC-BY, but adds the requirement that the new version of the work also be licensed this way, so that others may continue to use and share the material. Commercial redistribution is okay here, too.

Attribution – No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

This license type requires that the original be work be passed along in its original, complete form, with credit given to the original author/contributor. No modifications can be made. Commercial redistribution is still allowed.

Attribution – Non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)

This license prohibits commercial redistribution, allows for the original work to be modified or used in part, and requires the original author/contributor be acknowledged.

Attribution – Non-commercial, Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Like CC-BY-NC, this license does not allow commercial versions be created. The original work can be modified and used in part. The original author/contributor must be given credit, and the resulting work must also be available under the same license, so that others may continue to use and share the material.

Attribution – Non-commercial, No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Original works with this type of licensing can be redistributed, non-commercially, in their complete and original form, with credit given to the author. No modifications can be made.

image credit: jorgeandresem, Flickr