|Time Required (approx)
| 3-5 minutes
| 10 minutes (+ optional extra activity).
Librarians and TEL Advisors encounter some really neat tools that have a broad application. One such example is Creative Commons licences. We shout about these wherever we can, yet we are continually surprised that relatively few colleagues across the university – and further afield – have heard of them, or know what they do.
What are they?
They are legally enforceable licences that allow the owner of a copyright work to release that work to others to reuse, subject to certain conditions. The most permissive licence allows works to be adapted, altered and remixed. Others will allow retention and reuse only. It is arguable that to qualify as an OER, a work must allow revision and remix. This handy graphic explains the thinking behind this:
A bit of history: the Creative Commons organisation was founded in 2001 by three US academics. The first licences were released in 2002, and as of 2015 there are over 1 billion Creative Commons licensed works worldwide.
What can be released and reused under Creative Commons licences?
A huge variety of digital content, for example: text, videos, images, presentations, webpages, blogs.
If you are a researcher and you plan to publish your work, it is likely you will encounter Creative Commons in the not too distant future. It is becoming increasingly common for publishers to offer to publish your work open access and make it available under a licence. More on this in day four!
Copyright law and Creative Commons: is there a difference?
Creative Commons complements copyright law; however, there is a distinction between using something under licence vs. under an exception in law. In the UK we have a number of fair dealing exceptions which might permit you to use a small portion of a work for a certain purpose without needing to rely on a licence. A full summary of the copyright exceptions can be seen on page 12 of the ILS copyright booklet.
Public domain works can be freely used by anybody. These items are no longer in copyright either because the copyright has expired (typically if the author died more than 70 years ago) or because the copyright owner has waived the right to their work.
A summary of the different licences:
There are six licences with different conditions attached. You can read about them on the Creative Commons page – and here is a handy summary:
- CC BY: attribution only. This is the most permissive of all the licences. It allows anybody to share, remix and build upon your work, including for commercial purposes. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- CC BY-ND: attribution, no derivative works. This licence allows others to share your work, including for commercial purposes, so long as they do not change it in any way. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- CC BY-NC-SA: attribution, no commercial use, share alike. This licence allows others to share, remix and build upon your work, but they cannot use it for commercial purposes. They must licence their new creation under identical licence terms. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- CC BY-SA: attribution, share alike. This licence allows others to share, remix, and build upon your work, including for commercial purposes. They must licence their new creation under identical licence terms. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- CC BY-NC: attribution, no commercial use. This allows others to share, remix and build upon your work, but they cannot use it for commercial purposes. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- CC BY-NC-ND: attribution, no commercial use, no derivatives. This is the most restrictive of all the licences. It only allows others to download and share your work with others, but they cannot change them in any way, or use them for a commercial purpose. They must always credit you for the original creation.
- You can use CC0 if you’re the copyright owner and wish to assign your work into the public domain, or the Public Domain Mark can be used to denote a work that is free of known copyright restrictions.
You’re giving a lecture and want to brighten it up with a picture of your favourite animal. Do a search for it on Wikimedia Commons. Once you’ve found your image, look at the licence terms. Post a link to the image, along with the licence name and what it would allow you to do with that image. Include a full attribution to the author.
Optional further activity:
You have published a research paper with a well-known journal. They are offering two licences: CC BY, or CC BY-NC-ND. What would affect your decision over which licence to choose? Some examples:
- How much control would you retain over your work?
- How much impact would you like your work to make?
- Who do you want to have access to your work? Would the NC (non-commercial) clause exclude any uses or organisations that should be allowed?
Complete at least three activities across the five days to earn our ‘Open Education Enthusiast’ badge.
Still to come…
- Day 4: Introduction to Open Access Publishing
- Day 5: Becoming an Open Educational Practitioner
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @YSJTEL and @YSJ_ILS or search the hashtags #YSJOpenEd and #OpenEdWeek for additional materials or comment.
Róisin Cassidy (Technology Enhanced Learning),
Ruth MacMullen, Ruth Mardall and Clare McCluskey-Dean (Information Learning Services)