What is Open Licensing?

As new forms of publication and scholarship begin to take hold, the academic world is examining standard forms of licensing and rights management and finding them lacking. While current copyright and intellectual property laws focus on restricting use of materials, authors are beginning to explore new models that center on enabling use while still protecting the academic value of a publication. Some rights are still reserved, but some are proactively licensed at publication time to encourage re-use. These approaches make it clear which rights are licensed for various uses, removing the barrier of copyright and smoothing the way for others to access and use one’s work. One such approach is that taken by Creative Commons, an organization that supplies easy-to-understand, “some rights reserved” licenses for creative work. Authors simply review the list of rights they can grant or restrict, make their choice, and receive a link to a written license that spells out how their work may be used. The licenses work within current copyright laws but clearly state how a work may be used. Copyleft is another alternative license; often used in open source software development and describes how a work can be used and also governs how derivative works are to be licensed as well. Models like these are beginning to gain acceptance among artists, photographers, and musicians; scholarly papers and reports are increasingly released under alternative licenses. Some organizations, such as the New Media Consortium, have made it a policy to release all their work under licenses that facilitate sharing and reuse.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Since teachers and students in increasing numbers are creating their own learning materials, and sharing them using ICT, copyright is a major issue. The right to own your work and to decide how it is used is of vital importance. Open licensing allows for all involved, schools, teachers, students etc. to easily share their work and allow each other to use and develop their work, while retaining the right to guard their intellectual property. Open licenses add to the growing mass of material but also allows it to improve in quality since it facilitates collaborative efforts. - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 6, 2014 - stefan stefan Dec 7, 2014
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • Schools and colleges in Sweden are developing large amounts of learning and teaching materials, and are increasing their use of open licenses, e.g. due to the efforts of campaigns like Webbstjärnan. By using open licenses, and learning about open licenses, students learn to reflect on the importance of making responsible decisions on what to use and what to share on the internet. They are also contributing to the global mass of knowledge since the use of open licenses allows us to share, develop and improve each other's work. One important challenge is to help university-level students, teachers and administrators increase their use of open licenses. This could also give new and better opportunities for universities to fulfill "the third assignment". - ylva.pettersson ylva.pettersson Dec 6, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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