Open Educational Content/olcos/CHOOSE a license

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Tutorial: CHOOSE a license


Objectives

This tutorial provides information and practical tasks for:

  • choosing a Creative Commons license;
  • including it in the learning material.

The tutorial will take about 20 minutes. For that, internet access is needed.


Contents

Introduction

In this tutorial, we assist some teachers to choose a Creative Common license.

  • Tom wants to start a wiki for the collaborative creation of learning materials about Hypatia of Alexandria.
  • Susan wants to publish her lecturer notes.
  • Peter creates open content with his learning management system.
  • Dolores, a statistic teacher wants to install a repository system.

Please remark, that this tutorial based on the information of the Creative Commons Organizations (state 2006-11-06)

Why choosing a license?

In contrast to the U.S., in the European Union a Public Domain is unknown. This relinquishment of the intellectual property rights in favour to the public is not possible in European countries like Austria or Germany. That means for the E.U. that, before using, copying, modifying learning materials created by someone else, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner and enter into a contract with them.

With an open content licensing, one could profit about:

  • clear descriptions of the rights of the author(s) and the users
  • licensing formulations which are prooven by legal practitioner
  • the awareness level of the license
  • the possibility (for others) to search for your content with most of the search-engines, when they support your license
  • and (if you choose such a license) you could be sure, that your name is noted and that all materials, that are basing on your work are published under the same conditions (share alike)

Suggestions and tips for decisions about special features

First of all, we recommend to choose a popular license to profit about

  • it popularity and the possibility (for others) to search for your content with most of the search-engines, when they support your license
  • to be ensure the reusablity of the content (especially when a share alike licence should be chosen: It is not very easy to mix up different licenses when mixing up open educational content).

Remember, that you can allways place an individual contract, e.g. for allowing commercial use, to vary from the license text!

Decisions for choosing a license

"Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean giving up your copyright. It means offering some of your rights to any member of the public but only on certain conditions." (Creative commons Homepage 2006-11-07)

To choose a sufficient license the teacher have to decide, if he/she want to allow commercial uses and modification of his/her work.

  • To allow modification means, e.g. that others can correct, actualize, improve and adapt the content and that could be a reason, that the content will be used probably longer and more often. For which of the teachers that could be attractive?
  • If they decide to allow modification, they can choose the "share alike" option. This means, that every modifaction have to be published under the same license. On the one side, this is a option to be sure that everything is going right, concerning the license itself. On the other side, it is very hard for other content creator to reuse such an "share alike" content, if they like to mix up open content with different license.
  • Beside that, the teacher should decide, if she/he wants to limit the usage to non-commercial use. That means, that other teachers are allowed to use it, if they are working in public schools or universities. But a publisher have to ask for permission, if he want to use the content in a book he wants to sell.
  • Then the teacher should decide wheter or not they want their names in every copy or modified version of the content. If they decide for the "attribution requirement", this could be a nice point for marketing.

Eleven combinations of these options are possible!



Assignment

Now try it out, open the Creative Commons Website and choose a license.



  • For that, go to the Creative Commons Website and open the License Your Work and
  • fill out the form,
  • now you should see the license.

When you've made your choices, you'll get the appropriate license expressed in three ways:

  • Commons Deed. A simple, plain-language summary of the license, complete with the relevant icons.
  • Legal Code. The fine print that you need to be sure the license will stand up in court.
  • Digital Code. A machine-readable translation of the license that helps search engines and other applications identify your work by its terms of use.





Assignment

Please assist Tom, Susan, Peter and Dolores to choose a fitting license. Which license version do you recommend each of them?
  • Tom wants to start a wiki for the collaborative creation of learning materials about Hypatia of Alexandria.
  • Susan wants to publish her lecturer notes.
  • Peter creates open content with his learning management system.
  • Dolores, a statistic teacher wants to install a repository system.




Including a Creative Commons License

You should then include a Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" button on your site, near your work. This button will link back to the Commons Deed, so that the world can be notified of the license terms. If you find that your license is being violated, you may have grounds to sue under copyright infringement.

Including a creative Commons License is very easy. After your decision for a special license, just mark the code, copy it (e.g. with the key combination CTRL and C, on a Mac Command and C) and paste it in

... your webpage or website:

For that, you have to open your .html page in the code view (which means, with all the html-tags like <p></p>) and insert it (e.g. with the key combination CTRL and V, on a Mac Command and V). Please note, that you should it insert before you see </body></html>!

... by registration in a repository:

For that, you have to insert the code in the field "copyright" (e.g. with the key combination CTRL and V, on a Mac Command and V).


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