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Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons

Links, videos and other resources for OER

What are Creative Commons and Open Licenses?

An important element of open educational resources is that they are openly licensed, but what does that mean?

Open licenses enable collaboration, development, access, and inspiration from your creative works without requiring you to give up the rights (copyright) automatically granted to you for your creation.

An open license lets you retain ownership of your work, while allowing others to use, share, and remix it, without requesting your permission. For most open licenses, all that is required of the users is to attribute you for your work.

The above paragraphs have been adapted from "What are Creative Commons and Open Licences?" by BCcampus, and is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Creative Commons Kiwi by plccanz is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons (CC) is a global body that provides open-copyright licenses, so as an author, you can give your permission to share and reuse your creative work, with the conditions you choose. Applying a Creative Commons license does NOT give up your copyright.

The copyright licenses offered through Creative Commons grant specific permissions depending on the license you choose for your work. The licenses include:

CC BY logoCC BY

Attribution (BY) – This license allows others to distribute, change, remix, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This license gives anyone using your work the most permissions.

CC BY SA logoCC BY-SA

Attribution (BY) ShareAlike (SA) – This license allows others to distribute, change, remix, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. You, and anyone using your new version of this work, must release these adaptations with the same (“share alike”) CC BY-SA license.

CC BY NC logoCC BY-NC

Attribution (BY) NonCommercial (NC) – This license allows others to distribute, change, remix, and build upon your work as long as they credit you for the original creation. However, they cannot sell it or profit from it except to recuperate the costs of printing, for example. It is a nonprofit license.

CC BY NC SA logoCC BY-NC-SA

Attribution (BY) NonCommercial (NC) ShareAlike (SA) – This license allows others to distribute, change, remix, and build upon your work as long as they credit you for the original creation. However, you cannot sell it or profit from it except to recuperate the costs of printing, for example. It is a nonprofit license. You, and anyone using your new version of this work, must release these adaptations with the same (“share alike”) CC BY-NC-SA license.

CC BY ND logoCC BY-ND

Attribution (BY) NoDerivatives (ND) – This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

CC BY NC ND logoCC BY-NC-ND

Attribution (BY) NonCommercial (NC) NoDerivatives (ND) – This license is the most restrictive of the six main Creative Commons licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download and share your work with others as long as they credit you, but they must be passed along unchanged and in whole or use them commercially. It is a nonprofit license.

The above paragraphs have been adapted from "What are Creative Commons and Open Licences?" by BCcampus, and is licensed under CC BY 4.0

30 Clicks Presentations

With Creative Commons you have the right to choose how you share and let others use your work. Creative Commons is also a great way to find and use great free content, including images, songs, and articles.

30 Clicks Presentations

Free the Textbook. Presented on October 21, 2015 by Michelle Bagley and Marti Earhart. [35 minutes]

Re-use, Re-mix, Re-envision with OER. Presented on January 14, 2015, by Michelle Bagley. [35 minutes]

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides of a set of copyright licenses and tools that create a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.

What is copyright?

Whenever you produce a new creative work – whether that’s a new song or story, a picture or a painting, a slideshow or study guide – you are automatically granted a copyright where all your rights are reserved. You don’t need to do anything to be granted a copyright, and it’s intended to protect your work from being used in ways you don’t want, without your express permission.

To freely share your creative work, including open textbooks, without requests for permission, you can dedicate your work to the public domain, or license it openly.

Check out our Copyright Basics guide!

The above paragraphs have been adapted from "What are Creative Commons and Open Licences?" by BCcampus, and is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Public domain

Public domain

Items in the public domain are not protected by intellectual property laws, including copyright, trademark, or patent laws. Public domain belongs to the public – no individual can claim any right to the material, and it can be used by anyone without obtaining permission.

Here are four of the typical ways that works end up in the public domain:

  1. The copyright has expired
  2. The existing copyright owner failed to renew the copyright
  3. The work was dedicated to the public domain
  4. Copyright law is not applicable to this type of work (example: short phrases, facts and theories, and U.S. government works)

*Copyright law varies from country to country, and a work can be in the public domain in one country, but not necessarily in another.

The above paragraphs have been (slightly) adapted from "What are Creative Commons and Open Licences?" by BCcampus, and is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Fair Use

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