As we studied this topicÂ in an online course I'm taking,Â IÂ realized how little I understood it, and figured I wasn't alone in that regard.
After studying this topic in the “Implementing Instructional Technology Innovations” course I am taking online at UW-Stout with instructor Ann Bell, I wantedÂ to understand it even better, since I struggled with itÂ in the fast paced course as we covered it. I have to imagine that I am not alone in my confusion over how I can or can't use copyrighted materials, especially inÂ education, whereÂ there are some special allowances.
I assume thatÂ whenÂ instructors want to know what they can or cannot do withÂ copyrighted materials, they may often have a hard time figuring it out. I really wanted to understand the topic and provide resources to help others do the same. Similarly, understanding how to leverage Creative Commons licensing was also not terribly straightforward, and I wanted to understand that better too. So I startedÂ reading further and learning more.
Using Copyrighted MaterialsÂ – “Fair Use”
To better understandÂ the topic of Copyright and Fair Use, and the special provisions that have been made for educational uses, I combed through a lot of materials that our professor had provided. It wasÂ a bit tooÂ much to digest all of this content originally, in the rush of getting through the week's assignments,Â but at the close of the week, the instructorÂ fortuitously reminded me of one particularly excellent resource.
The resource that really helped to clarify is this excellent 2Â page poster-format document explains Copyright Fair Use in educationÂ [Editor's Note – I just learned that this link is no longer functional – I will try find this document again and provide an updated link – KW 4/24/11]. ThanksÂ toÂ Technology & Learning for thisÂ wonderful resource that summarizes what educators can do with different types of materials and stay within the guidelines of what is acceptable asÂ “Fair Use” of copyrighted materials.
Readers, click here if you would like to
view a video blog entry forÂ this article.
To learn more, you might also want to check out this “What is Fair Use?” article.
Creative Commons is an extension of Copyright.Â Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights, allowing them to copy your work, make derivative works,Â distribute it, and so on. Creative Commons strikes me as a wonderful idea, really helping to expand on copyright and encourage others to use materials in ways the creators are comfortable with.
ThereÂ are 6 different types of Creative Commons license types, and they each have their own special icons to indicate that they apply to a given work, but I rarely seem to see them displayed on works, even when they are clearly supposed to be Creative Commons licensed works (as in Flickr's “Commons” section). To see the symbols associated with each licensing type, click through to this page that explainsÂ CC licensing types (following is my attempt at an even further condensed explanation of these):
- Attribution: This is the least restrictive license. You can distribute, remix, change, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as you creditÂ the original creation.
- Attribution Share Alike: You canÂ changeÂ and build upon the work, even for commercial reasons, as long as you credit the creator and license yourÂ new creation under the identical terms.
- Attribution No Derivatives:Â Allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the creator.
- Attribution Non-Commercial:Â Â Lets others remix, change, and build upon the work only non-commercially, andÂ new works mustÂ acknowledge the original, but they donâ€™t have to license those derivative works on the same terms.
- Attribution Non-CommercialÂ Share Alike:Â Â Others can remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, as long as they credit the creatorÂ and license their new creations under the identical terms. All new work basedÂ will carry the same license (derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature).
- Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives: The most restrictive license. Often called the â€œfree advertisingâ€ license because it allows others to downloadÂ works and share them with others as long as they mention the sourceÂ and link back to it, but they canâ€™t change the work in any way, or use them commercially.
Understanding these license variations can be a little tough, but I think the bigger challenge with Creative Commons is the lack of consistency with which this licensing is conveyed for works found online, and the slow adoption of this concept in general.
Before closing, I want to mention that one cool site I came acrossÂ while learning about CC is the Creative Commons Mixter. where you can download, sample, and shareÂ music licensed under Creative Commons.
I hope this helps to summarize these licenses concepts, and provides a set of resources that can help you understand what you can and cannot do under these licensing guidelines.
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Video blog entry “Copyright and Fair Use, as applied to Education & Teaching”
30 Posts About Free Education Technology Tools & Resources
5 Reasons Why Educators Need To Embrace Internet Technologies