A Creative Commons Toolkit for NZ Schools/What is Creative Commons, and why is it relevant to schools?

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What is the “Creative Commons” and why is it Relevant to schools?

The Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a worldwide non-profit organisation that offers copyright alternatives (beyond the traditional ‘all rights reserved’) to teachers, scholars, scientists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, graphic designers, Web hobbyists, artists, and other content developers for use anywhere in the world. Creative Commons is devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The Creative Commons project in New Zealand is a project of Te Whainga Aronui The Council for the Humanities.[1]

CC Aotearoa New Zealand has ported copyright licenses to a NZ context so that copyright owners can share their work with others. Private rights are used to create public goods by allowing creative works to be set free for certain uses. Like the free software and open-source movements, CC's ends are cooperative and community-minded. Creators are able to have a best-of-both-worlds way to protect their works while encouraging certain uses of them — to declare “some rights reserved.”

The development of this policy would not have been possible without reference to the IP Policy of Otago Polytechnic[2] and the Free Content and Free and Open Courseware implementation strategy for the University of the Western Cape [3].

Definition: What is Free?

The definitions presented here are based on a combination of formulations derived from published literature[4] and websites [5].

Free Content: Content that contributes to social good by recognizing four freedoms and one restriction that safeguards and promotes those freedoms. With free content, anyone has the right:

  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work without requiring any further permission than that granted by this freedom (freedom 1);
  • to exercise this freedom for any purpose under any circumstances, including commercial use (freedom 2);
  • to make derivative works (freedom 3);
  • to copy, distribute, display, and perform the derivative work (freedom 4).

The restriction below ensures that the first four freedoms are passed on in derived content:

  • if the work is altered, transformed, or built upon in any way, resulting work may only be distributed under an identical license that includes this restriction (copyleft restriction).

An optional further restriction is permissible with Free Content in that it may require the original author to given credit. This restriction stipulates

  • The original author(s) or producers(s) of the content as well as the author(s) or producer(s) of derived works must be acknowledged and given credit for their contribution.

The emphasis in philosophy of Free Content is on social good through promoting collaborative development and the adaptation and expansion of content.

Relevance to Schools

Schools are creators and owners of vast amounts teaching materials. Increased connectivity between schools provides for greater collaboration and sharing of ideas and resources. This work aims to enable schools to adopt a policy that will allow the free sharing, reuse and modification of teaching materials and other work using Creative Commons type licenses.
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