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Finding Free and Open Resources: Module 4

Creative Commons


This module covers the following topics:
What are Creative Commons licenses?
How do I assign a Creative Commons license to my work?

What are Creative Commons licenses?

Many open educational resource authors and publishers use Creative Commons as their open licensing system of choice. Creative Commons licenses have a legal document behind each license type, along with a “human-readable” easy to read reference version and a machine-readable code. Open licenses are compatible with United States copyright law, because you, as the author or publisher, are giving explicit permission to use your works to the public. The types of Creative Commons licenses are:

  • Attribution (CC BY)
    • Anyone is free to remix, redistribute, and commercially use your work, so long as the original work is attributed in the new work.
  • Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
    • Anyone is free to remix, redistribute, and commercially use your work, so long as the original work is attributed and the new works are shared under the same license. This keeps all material derived from your original work to also be open.
  • Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)
    • Anyone is free to redistribute your work, including commercially, so long as the original work is attributed. Remixes and other derivative works are not allowed.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
    • Anyone is free to remix and redistribute your work, but not commercially, so long as the original work is attributed.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
    • Anyone is free to remix and redistribute your work, but not commercially, so long as the original work is attributed and the new works are shared under the same license. This keeps all material derived from your original work to be both open and non-commercial.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)
    • Anyone is free to redistribute your work, but not commercially, so long as the original work is attributed. Remixes and other derivative works are not allowed.
  • Public Domain Mark (CC0)
    • No rights reserved - anyone is free to remix, redistribute, and commercially use your work, no attribution required.

The license with the highest degree of openness while still requiring attribution is CC-BY, or the Creative Commons Attribution License. This is the preferred license for Open Educational Resources, and it was recently added as a requirement in The Hewlett Foundation’s policies for all OERs funded by the organization.

How do I assign a Creative Commons license to my work?

The easiest way to determine which open license is right for you is to use the Creative Commons Choose page:

http://creativecommons.org/choose/

The application on the Choose page asks you for some basic information on how others can use your work, and it automatically generates a license based on your answers. You can embed machine-readable license code using this application, which is great for works on the Web, but this code is not required - simply assigning a license to your work will do.

An in-depth tutorial on using Creative Commons’ Choose application is located on the Open Washington website.

The next module will focus on finding the best open content for your courses.

Reflection


1. OER organizations often define any work with a ND (no derivatives) restriction as “not open” or “not OER.” Why is the permission to make derivative works so important when it comes to an educational resource?

2. Creative Commons started as an initiative focused on the arts. Why would a visual artist or music composer want their works freely distributed with derivative works allowed?

Video by Creative Commons, CC-BY license.

Proceed to Module 5