Daily Archives: August 17, 2009

OER Copyright Survey

Educators enjoy certain greater freedoms under copyright law’s Fair Use Doctrine, and such the culture of exchange in education is pretty lax.  In a workshop recently in which I discussed Qcommons (more on that later this week), the teachers said that if they were reticent to upload their materials because they’d lost track of what was original and what they’d copied from copyrighted sources.  They knew they had the right as teachers to use them in their courses, but did not know whether they could publish them online, and thus were effectively silenced by the intimidating complexity of copyright law.

Creative Commons has set out to make copyright and licensing terms easier to understand and use by everyone.  CCLearn is trying to do the same for education, which I argue is an even greater task.  Today they put up a survey to get a sense of how people understand the copyright rules and how they work with them.  Please take 5-10 minutes to fill it out and help advance access to and sharing of educational resources.  It closes August 31 so go ahead and do it now.  :)

From the survey page,

“Because most content remains “all-rights-reserved” under the traditional rules of copyright, it is often the case that the creators and producers of OER must confront questions as to when and if it is permissible to use content created by others when it is not offered under an open license. For example, an OER creator may want to incorporate a clip from a film into a lesson about film techniques, or an animated video illustrating a biological process into a lesson about that process. However, if the film clip or animation is protected by “all-rights-reserved” copyright, then the OER creator may be unsure how to proceed, or may wish to rely on some exception to copyright law that may apply under such circumstances.

It is our goal to develop a deeper awareness of the degree to which OER practitioners and users grapple with copyright law issues, and whether those issues pose barriers to the creation, dissemination, and reuse of OER. We hope that this initial survey will form the basis of a larger international study led by ccLearn.”