Working with open educational resources (OER) and sharing, I constantly grapple with copyright. I have come to a greater appreciation of explicitly stated licensing. As a consumer of such resources, I often must search, parse, and decipher to determine whether they are OER. This has caused me to reconsider my practices as a content creator.
As I have mentioned in the past, I regard Creatives Commons licensing as an invitation to use and share materials rather than legal protection. It makes my intentions clear so that others need not guess.
This site has had a clear Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license as I mentioned in a post of over a year ago. I have licensed some of my online interactives as CC Attribution Non Commercial Share-Alike. Now I plan to share instructional presentations and need to decide how license them. This has led me again to explore Creative Commons Licenses and their implications.
While I occasionally have used the Non Commercial designation, I will no longer do so. Commercial use is too nebulous. Would use by a private school be commercial? How about the use in a presentation for which the presenter is being paid? Besides, as Karen Fasimpaur tweeted: “do you really think someone’s going to make a ton of $ selling your stuff?” There is a good discussion of the Non-commercial designation in Neal Butcher’s article Open Educational Resources and Higher Education (It also had a great overview of higher education OER sites).
I now realize the Share-Alike endorsement can also pose problems. Share Alike allows individuals to use and remix content with the provision that they license the resultant material with the same terms. This could prevent an individual combining Share-Alike content with material with different licensing from distributing their remix. Again, this is not desirable in my view.
In light of the unexpected consequences with my past licensing choices, I considered Public Domain or Creative Commons No Copyright (CC 1.0 Universal). This would make it as easy as possible for others to use my work. Unfortunately, a lack of attribution lends to a lack of credibility.
In the end, I have chosen the CC-BY license and its simple attribution license for the bulk of what I do. This site has already been changed to attribution only. I decided to keep it simple so that potential users no longer have to parse out details.
Tags: creative commons
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