User:Nicholas/My Scratch Pad

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Use of Copyleft in Education

THOU SHALT NOT STEAL – the creative work of others. Using images, text, videos… without giving credit to the creators is a form of stealing.

Did you know… any work, be it a piece of writing, an image, a piece of art, a video… automatically has a copyright? We are all used to citing text (with quotes when it is taken directly from a piece of writing or simply by putting the source in the reference list when you paraphrase). What does not seem to happen is the citing of images and other media elements.
Ideas are like light bulbs. They go on and off

Copyleft is a form of licensing and copyright law, and can be used to maintain copyright conditions for works ranging from computer software, to documents, to art. In general, copyright law is used by an author to prohibit recipients from reproducing, adapting, or distributing copies of their work. In contrast, under copyleft, an author may give every person who receives a copy of the work permission to reproduce, adapt, or distribute it, with the accompanying requirement that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement.

Applying copyleft

Common practice for using copyleft is to codify the copying terms for a work with a license. Any such license typically gives each person possessing a copy of the work the same freedoms as the author, including (from the Free Software Definition):

  1. Freedom 0 – the freedom to use the work,
  2. Freedom 1 – the freedom to study the work,
  3. Freedom 2 – the freedom to copy and share the work with others,
  4. Freedom 3 – the freedom to modify the work, and the freedom to distribute modified and therefore derivative works.

These freedoms do not ensure that a derivative work will be distributed under the same liberal terms. In order for the work to be truly copyleft, the license has to ensure that the author of a derived work can only distribute such works under the same or equivalent license.

Types of copyleft and relation to other licenses

Copyleft is a distinguishing feature of some free software licenses. Many free software licenses are not copyleft licenses because they do not require the licensee to distribute derivative works under the same license. There is an ongoing debate as to which class of license provides the greater degree of freedom. This debate hinges on complex issues such as the definition of freedom and whose freedoms are more important, or whether to maximize the freedom of all potential future recipients of a work (freedom from the creation of proprietary software). Non-copyleft free software licenses maximize the freedom of the initial recipient (freedom to create proprietary software).

Links to Copyleft Resources

I currently work with EAGC.


Creative Commons


OER Search Engines

OER Commons Search Engine

Other Links

  1. EAGC Web2forDev Workshop Pictures
  2. EAGC workshop reports
  3. EAGC pictures