Licensing practicalities

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The ideal is to only make available / reuse material which is fully open (public domain, GNU or CCO), however there is a lot more material available under  'slightly' more restrictive terms such as CC-BY and so we are likely to need to handle different kinds of licensing for different elements of an open course. So here are some of the questions that arise:

1. How can we acknowledge any licensing forms (including required attributions) on the page in such a way that they do not detract from the readability of the page? I notice the captioning used for  images but segments of text drawn from mutliple sources are more complex. Is it sufficient to do an endpoint list of contributors rather than acknowledging sources for each sentence / para / section?? Or do we need to enter the world of electronic footnotes?

2. How many generations does CC-BY apply to? If I make a CC-BY resource, a 2nd person remixes it and melds it with another CC-BY source, and puts a CC-BY  on that product, which later gets subsumed into another resource created, are all generation of contribuors acknowledged ad infinitum?

3. ALL graphics we use have to be open. By design, organisational logos are copyrighted material and so there can be no logos of contributing organisations. Right?

Wanda (talk)14:57, 20 April 2012

The principle of engagement for OERu courses is that course materials will be licensed under free cultural works approved licenses or dedicated to the public domain. In practice this means Public domain declaration, CC-0, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, or the GNU FDL.

It is possible for course developers to link to open access materials in their courses which may not meet the requirements of free cultural works approved content. (Course developers should assess the risks associated with enclosure and/or host site changing the terms of usage.)

1) Regarding images, when uploading images the wiki provides for all the metadata requirements regarding attribution and licensing. The correct convention is to provide the licensing metadata in the image page and not on the content page where the image is displayed. See for example the metadata on this image:,_Sudan.jpg. If images are sourced on the Wikimedia commons metadata is automatically included in the image.

2) Yes, in theory modifications can continue ad infinitum -- the legal obligation is to acknowledge the immediate parent source, not all that went before.

3)Correct, all images should use free cultural works approved licenses. However, there are exceptions. Organisational logos usually copyrighted and/or may be trademarked. Where the logo is used for the visual identify of an organisation, this is done under "fair dealing" or in accordance with the trademark provisions. See for example the Creative Commons Logo:

Mackiwg (talk)17:55, 20 April 2012

Some more detailed questions

1. Institutional copyright
The statements I agree to when using the OO converter, and even the default statement at the base of every edit screen assumes that I am the copyright holder, whereas I am actually acting as an agent for the institution which is the copyright holder. How do I acknowledge the copyright of an institution and my 'authority' to act on its behalf?
2. Identifying the 'BY' for a page
The default footer in wikieducator includes the CC-BY-SA logo. In order to give the attribution for any subsequent works someone needs to be able to readily identify who to attribute it to. Where/how do we do this for our institutional contributions? For instance, is it necessary to add another CC-BY-SA logo within the editable area of the page and note the attribution at that point? Which leads me on to . . ..

3. Identifying the BY (or other licensing constraint) on components of a page.
Where multiple sources are remixed into a page do we need specific 'extract' attribution, like a quote at the point(s) of use. Or for the purposes of the project would it be appropriate to list the multiple sources at the base of the page, like a mini reference list?

Wanda (talk)13:12, 8 May 2012

Hi Wanda,

Good questions.

Correct, when uploading materials on behalf of the original rights holder, we recommend that your edit summary provides the proper attributions. In this way the page history will properly document the original license attributions:

  1. Where possible upload the full text required for the specific wiki page with the first edit (rather than multiple uploads).
  2. Before saving the text you are reusing (the first edit on the new page) type the Copyright attributions in the Comment summary box. For example: "Original text Copyright to <name of copyright holder goes here> and licensed under <specify license here> see: supply url of the source material (if available).
  3. When using the OOo convertor -- the text will be placed on a subpage of your userpage as a temporary placeholder -- when copying over the relevant sections to their destination pages in the wiki -- you should add the copyright attributions to the comment field before saving the page.
  4. In addition to this, we are planning to include a dedicated copyright page for OERu courses, where we will list copyright attributions of the materials. We are currently conducting a rough consensus poll to determine the best placement and convention for these copyright acknowledgments for the OERu development. Once agreed - -we will develop a style guide for OERu courses.

If the source material is CC-BY:

  • We recommend that you honor the original license and keep it as CC-BY. To change the license logo at the bottom of the page to CC-BY, add the following wiki text at the bottom of the page: [[Category:CC-BY]] with appropriate comment. This will change the default CC-BY-SA License to CC-BY. See for example this tutorial page which is licensed CC-BY -- scroll to the bottom of the page to see the CC-BY logo.
  • It is legally possible to release the derivative work as CC-BY-SA, but we recommend that this is only done if the text incorporates CC-BY-SA remixes.
Mackiwg (talk)14:34, 8 May 2012