What is Alternative Licensing?

As new forms of publication and scholarship begin to take hold, the academic world is examining standard forms of licensing and rights management and finding them lacking. While current copyright and intellectual property laws focus on restricting use of materials, authors are beginning to explore new models that center on enabling use while still protecting the academic value of a publication. Some rights are still reserved, but some are proactively licensed at publication time to encourage re-use. These approaches make it clear which rights are licensed for various uses, removing the barrier of copyright and smoothing the way for others to access and use one’s work.

Publishers, authors, and institutions are exploring a variety of flexible approaches to licensing and rights management. One such approach is that taken by Creative Commons, an organization that supplies easy-to-understand, “some rights reserved” licenses for creative work. Authors simply review the list of rights they can grant or restrict, make their choices, and receive a link to a written license that spells out how their work may be used. The licenses work within current copyright laws but clearly state how a work may be used. Copyleft is another alternative approach; often used in open source software development, copyleft describes how work can be used and also governs how derivative works are to be licensed as well. Models like these are beginning to gain acceptance among artists, photographers, and musicians; scholarly papers and reports are increasingly released under alternative licenses. Some organizations, such as the New Media Consortium, have made it a policy to release all their work under licenses that facilitate sharing and reuse.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As one to one becomes more prevalent in k12, OER will be one way that schools can save money on textbooks that they will be spending on devices. Creative licensing can facilitate this movement. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Many cc licensed works are free for educators to use, but require licensing that may be fee-based for organizations that intend to reap financial benefit through their use of the cc licensed work. This is a win-win. Educators have access to more and higher quality free materials. For profit institutions have more cost effective ways of procuring content for their applications. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Extend this concept into the wired, one to one classroom and you can have teachers as curators of material for their students. The students have greater access to more and higher quality curricular materials that to aid in their understanding and learning independence. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
  • Concur with Jack. This also opens up new avenues of creative expression for students, using cc material to remix and make new sense of the world. - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 24, 2012jan morrison- jan.morrison jan.morrison Mar 2, 2012

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • GooruLearning, http://www.goorulearning.org/ is currently free and has an api for developers to use the materials in ways that Gooru allows. As a nonprofit, they are committed to free access. However, to sustain their development and support of the project, Gooru intends to license their material to for profit institutions who will presumably rely upon further curation of Gooru's property. - jack.west jack.west Feb 22, 2012
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