Activity 9: Choosing a license

Open Source

Image from colorbox.com

I’m very happy to see that licensing is also covered in this open course on open education.
I find that teachers are often insecure about what they can and cannot do with regards to our e-learning platform and also with regards to presentations that they make for internal or external use. This insecurity is an obstacle that prevents teachers from using resources that they find on the internet. At my university we have a person employed at the library who is dedicated to copy right issues. Faculty can then contact him whenever they are in doubt.  Only problem is that many people aren’t aware that he exists, so he has been doing a marketing campaign that included a very nice poster on “Copyright rules and teaching at SDU [University of Southern Denmark] – Brief guide”. It’s a bit ridiculous, but I’m not actually sure whether I can share this poster with you, so I think it’s safer just to insert the link to this webpage, where you can download it and have a look if you are curious: http://www.sdu.dk/copyright.

The use of images in presentations seems to be a specific focus area at my university. Fortunately, many people like to use images to visualize ideas and concepts, and there’s an abundance of very nice images to be found on the internet. However, people are often in doubt about, whether they can actually use the images. At my university, we have an unlimited license to Colorbox (http://www.colourbox.com/about) which is a repository of more than 5 million images that can be used free of charge offline and online. This is extremely helpful, and it makes a world of difference to know that you can use the images, you find on Colorbox. I use images from Colorbox for my PowerPoint presentations, Prezis, blog posts etc. I have just become aware of Wikimedia Commons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page), though, in connection with this module. 16,000,000 free photos, illustrations, sounds and videos – sound like it’s time to go exploring.

From Wikimedia Commons. Created by Supermac1961

From Wikimedia Commons. Created by Supermac1961

My choice of license

I was quite sure about the “by” and the “share alike” before I embarked on this activity. I find it quite helpful myself to be able to trace the origins of relevant and interesting resources that I find. Being able to see who the creator is makes it easier to find other works by that same creator and thus you can explore the topic in more detail. The “share alike” attribute is a prerequisite for the continued sharing, networking and collaboration online, so that was a given, too.

I was very unsure about the “non-commercial” issue. My first thought was that I didn’t want anybody to make money off my works, at least not without me getting a share of it. But then I read the arguments for and against NC and actually got even more confused. How can it be that “sale and other commercial uses must be allowed for a license to be considered free (http://freedomdefined.org/Licenses/NC – Incompatibility). I was thinking that if everybody used the NC then we would get to a point where all resources would be free, and that seems to be the ideal. But total freedom apparently means allowing people to use your works for commercial purposes. So don’t use the NC license if you want your works to get out and about.

I finally settled on:

Creative Commons License
Activity 9: Choosing a license by Inger-Marie Christensen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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