You may have noticed the new symbols on my sidebar. That’s because I finally woke up and decided to start thinking about copyright issues for my blog and other content that I put on the Internet. I was moved by the NYSCATE conference to consider Creative Commons Licensing.
Creative Commons licenses allows creators to share content that they have created, while retaining some rights to the material. Steve Hargadon posted this great YouTube video on his K12opensource site by JustinG4000 which provides a great overview.
Having heard about it at the conference and seeing this video moved me to visit the Creative Commons site. The site makes it very easy to create a license for your content. Just click on the License Your Work on the upper right hand side of the homepage.
The up comes a page with a few questions and buttons to help you customize the license.
You can also fill out optional fields, making attribution to your site a function of copying and pasting as snippet of code. You can fill in whatever is relevant.
Click Select a license and you are delivered to page that allows you to select the appearance of the Creative Commons icon/link and gives you a snippet of code to past into the appropriate place on your site.
As you can see, the Creative Commons site makes it quick and easy to license your work.
Creative Commons licenses starts with the premise that you allow others to copy your work as long as they attribute it to you (You can choose their Public Domain license if you do not care about attribution). The first choice presented is whether or not you allow commercial use of your work. I was almost certainly selecting No until Jim Klein responded to my Tweet asking about CC licensing. He cautioned that not allowing commercial use may prevent paid presenters from using your ideas (of course they could always ask permission). For my blog, I decided that I would allow commercial use on the remote chance that somebody would actually use my ideas. For my test prep materials, on the other hand, I barred commercial use.
The next choice is to decide whether or not you will allow others to modify your work. As outlined in the video above, you have three choices:
- Yes–allow others to change as they please.
- Yes–”Share alike” as long as they grant the same license to those who might use the derivation of your work.
- No–modifications are not allowed
I chose “Share Alike.” I feel that if anybody want to use my material and modify it, they should allow others to do the same.
Copyright, creative commons, and pedagogy
Now that students are becoming content creators on the Internet whether or not in association with schools, they need to consider copyright and its implications. The options presented with the Creative Commons license variations provides a great venue for discussing the implications of copyright in general.
Furthermore, considering the copyright of their own materials will make discussion of intellectual ownership in general more relevant to students than the standard plagiarism lectures. It becomes a real issue and will almost certainly give students a new perspective on the issues involved.
Creative Commons licensing makes sense, particularly for content creators on the Internet. Web 2.0 makes the issue of copyright very important to a widening number of people. Creative Commons also highlights issues in the realm of copyright that make it a great vehicle for discussion of intellectual property in schools.