This guide is aimed at staff who are keen to include or supplement Open Educational Resources (OER) with their own teaching resources.
How does a Creative Commons license operate?
A Creative Commons (CC) license is based on copyright. CC licenses apply to works that are protected by copyright law. The kinds of works that are protected by copyright law are books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, for example. Software programs are also protected by copyright but, as explained below, we do not recommend that you apply a Creative Commons license to software code.
Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights—such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.
Creative Commons licenses attach to the work and authorize everyone who comes in contact with the work to use it consistent with the license. This means that if Bob has a copy of your Creative Commons-licensed work, Bob can give a copy to Carol and Carol will be authorized to use the work consistent with the Creative Commons license. You then have a license agreement separately with both Bob and Carol.
You should be aware that Creative Commons licenses only affect your rights under copyright. You are not licensing your trademark or patent rights, if any, when you apply a CC license to your work.
Creative Commons licenses are expressed in three different formats: the Commons Deed (human-readable code), the Legal Code (lawyer-readable code); and the metadata (machine readable code). You don’t need to sign anything to get a Creative Commons license – just select your license with our License Chooser.
One final thing you should understand about Creative Commons licenses is that they are all non-exclusive. This means that you can permit the general public to use your work under a Creative Commons license and then enter into a separate and different non-exclusive license with someone else, for example, in exchange for money.
Frequently Asked Questions – CC Wiki [Accessed 13/07/11]
For further information on this subject, including a video case study and PDF guide on this subject please see the COFA Online is an academic unit website.
Open Educational Resources
We work with the global Open Educational Resources movement, providing the legal framework for Open Educational Resources (OER) — learning materials that are freely available to use, remix, and redistribute. With CC licenses, teachers and learners can use and remix textbooks and lesson plans, and universities can redistribute lectures. The OER movement has the potential to yield much wider access to and participation in global education, but only if a critical mass of educational institutions and communities embrace openness. Our licenses, especially our Attribution license, are free and simple ways to implement the philosophy of OER using a commonly accepted standard for “open”.
Education – Creative Commons [Accessed 13/07/11]