Different open education projects, different licenses

In higher education, intellectual property is crucial. What we produce is mostly knowledge, and knowledge objects can be digitized and propagated at the click of a mouse.

In a recent post on the Creative Commons site, Paul Stacey, Director of Communications, Stakeholder and Academic Relations at BCcampus, argues that educators in his system are better served by a home-grown licensing agreement that limits the freedom of use of open educational resources (OER) created for BCCampus to educators in the network, which essentially limits it to the province of British Columbia, Canada.

The following chart, presented at the Open Ed Conference in Barcelona, displays the spectrum of OER projects and the licenses they have chosen (click to enlarge).

Chart of OER projects and copyright licensing choices.

The BC Commons licensing might look weird, but the following quote from the Creative Commons article explains the logic:

BCcampus adopted the BC Commons license to support educators gradual entry into the waters of openness. “If you say to a faculty member that you want them to share their resources with everyone, they worry that they might lose control of the integrity of the resources they create,” says Paul. “Even with the BC Commons license, these concerns do not go away entirely, but fears are mitigated because the sharing is contained within the province.” Stacey thinks that the more convincing reason for rallying around the BC Commons license is the local collaboration generated by its use. “When you create a license that supports local sharing, it creates a local commons,” says Paul.

As an educator, do you agree that a set of rules that would limit the geographic freedom of use is more likely to encourage you to share your content openly?


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