Talk:Licenses for Education Material

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From an Email by Simon Cropper to the Edu list: lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/edu_discuss/2011-July/001358.html

(c) Simon Cropper CC-BY-SA 3.0 Australia  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/au/deed.en



I thought I would articulate some basic concepts and list some links that I have uncovered in my investigation, with the hope that they might be of use for others.


POINT 1. All material used in a document needs to be either.

  1. original work (not necessarily original ideas, just original ways of presenting these ideas),
  2. drawn from the source material licensed under an appropriate Creative Commons licence (see Point 2 & 3),
  3. in the public domain,
  4. material you have obtained permission from the copyright owner to use, or
  5. meet the definition for fair use or fair dealing.


POINT 2. Creative Commons licenses are not compatible with any other Open Content licenses. This means, for example, you can not legally incorporate documents published under a GNU Free Documentation License into your work [1]. So don't use material under different licenses without first getting the written permission to use it. The Creative Commons Search Tool [2] provides one means of finding websites containing material licensed with a Creative Commons license or in the Public Domain.


POINT 3. Not all Creative Commons licenses are compatible with each other. For example CC-BY-SA works can not be used to create CC-BY derivatives. Check out the following matrix to establish if a license is compatible[3].


POINT 4. Works marked as being in the Public Domain may not be in all jurisdictions and consist of two types of material: (1) those works where copyright has expired like old books, or (2) contemporary works where someone has relinquished their rights like the CC0 license. Care needs to be taken when utilising such works to ascertain if they are totally free of copyright in countries where your work is to be used. [4]


POINT 5. When using works where you have had to obtain permission, clearly articulate that you have done so by including text right next to the material used that states "(c) {copyright owner}. Use with permission, {date}"


POINT 6. Fair use is defined in legislation. Check out the local copyright act in the country you publish the work and the possibly also the countries where your work is being downloaded. As a guide;

  1. include only small parts of the source material in your work and enclose it in quotes, and
  2. cite the source. Direct cutting-and-pasting a variety of documents together to create a derivative is not fair use.

As an example, the Australian Copyright Act 1969 states that the act of reproducing small amounts of a work represents 'fair dealing' if it is for the purpose of research or study [5], criticism or review [6], parody or satire [7]; or reporting news [8].


POINT 7. Citing source material is professional courtesy. Although you may not actually copy the work of others (and therefore copyright is not relevant), most documents represent the sum of knowledge on a particular topic. It is professional courtesy to cite the source of the ideas expressed in the document, paragraph, sentence, table, etc. This can be done with a generic statement at the start of a document or right next to where the idea is presented. There are many bibliographic tools available that allow for this process to be quickly and seamlessly done.


POINT 8. Audit yourself.

    - Disassemble your document.

    - List every element and ask yourself   

        - is this mine, or

        - is it the work of someone else.

            - If it belongs to someone else, have you cited the source and ensured that the material is appropriately licensed.

             - If the work is not appropriately licensed,

                 - have you sought and received permission from the copyright owner to use the work. If so have you clearly shown this in the text.

                 - Alternatively, does the use of the work fall under fair use or fair dealing provision of the copyright legislation of the countries where the work is published and/or publicly available?

    - Only after you complete this process and all source material checks out can you then release the work without being in breach of copyright.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License#Compatibility_with_Creative_Commons_licensing_terms

[2] http://search.creativecommons.org/

[3] http://wiki.creativecommons.org/FAQ#If_I_use_a_Creative_Commons-licensed_work_to_create_a_new_work_.28ie_a_derivative_work_or_adaptation.29.2C_which_Creative_Commons_license_can_I_use_for_my_new_work.3F

[4] https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/

[5] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s40.html

[6] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s41.html

[7] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s41a.html

[8] http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ca1968133/s42.html