Early on in the program, we noted that we don’t have a full session dedicated to licenses. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of you in the @oct19-cohort who are still starting to think about what license would be best for your project. Let’s use this thread to talk to each other as we’re making these considerations. How do we educate ourselves about the different license options available? How can we facilitate a conversation with our teams about the same? What factors should we take into consideration when choosing a license? I’ll try to pull in other creators into the conversation, and maybe even some licensing experts to get our cogs whirring.
To start, here are some of my go to resources to learn about licenses:
- About Creative Commons (CC) Licenses (Creative Commons website) - the layers and rationale sections here might be especially useful to talk to your team about what CC licenses are, and why they might help you easily grant copyright permissions on your OER
- Open Textbook Network’s guide to open licenses (OTN Publishing Curriculum)
- Rebus Community’s guide to CC licenses, (A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students)
- Copyright and Open Licenses (BCcampus Open Education, Self-Publishing Guide)
There are a lot of fantastic libguides out there that explain the differences between open licenses, All Rights Reserved Copyright, Public Domain, fair use, so I highly encourage you to check these out. This conversation is something a lot of librarians have with their faculty regularly, and many of them have very helpfully put together all their knowledge on their college, institution, or university sites. A quick Google search showed me:
- Tacoma Community College Lib Guide on Open Licenses
- University of Pittsburgh Lib Guide on OER: Copyright
I’m sure there are plenty more to find!
We also shared a recent update to our own licensing policy, and the thinking behind why this has changed and how it has evolved.
For those hoping to start a conversation with your team, I think a good place to begin would be to outline the project goals, measures of success, personal goals. Once you know what you’d like to achieve with your project, it can be easier for you to see which of the licenses available work best to help you achieve these goals. Of course there may be questions that crop up along the way, but that’s what we’re here to help you answer!
I’ve also used the CC License Selector (Creative Commons) before when trying to see what license might be good for my context.
I want to emphasize that context is just one of the many variables that can help your team select a license — so think about where you are located, the team you are working with, the project you are working on, the goals of the project (both its long-term impact and any personal short-term goals that you have with it). In the Handout for Framing your project and project scope, I also shared a few resources to help think about licensing when you are working with communities and community knowledge, or if you are remixing work:
- Remixing CC Licenses, (Creative Commons website)
- Local Contexts initiative, focused on the inherent sovereignty that Indigenous communities have over their cultural heritage and Traditional Knowledge (TK) labels (Local Contexts)
- CARE (Contribute, Attribute, Release, Empower) Framework; issues to be aware of when providing attribution (CARE Framework website)
- License To…? Office Hours Recording (Open Textbook Network and Rebus Community Office Hours)
There’s definitely a lot of information here for you to refer to, and think about, so don’t feel any pressure to read through every resources before asking your questions here. I might point you back to some of these resources, to new ones, or ask other human (resources) to come join the conversation and share their input.