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. 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.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

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

  • My perspective on this isn't directly relevant to K-12 settings, but is on the other hand relevant to solving the problems of K12 education. The suggestion that we might re-think how we think about copyright and ownership can be fundamentally counter to the environments in which those of us in University research based environments operate. But, it has the potential to facilitate a shift in how we think about research at this level from an individual-driven and of course sometimes competitive approach to a more collaborative problem-solving approach which is, of course, exactly what we need to solve some of the most complicated and challenging problems in education. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 6, 2010 Universities should need to work hard to move towards creative commons approaches - which are more robust in supporting developments - in order to demonstrate to society how research and development are not reliant on restrictive copyright approaches - rather on ethical and fair use of information. Creative Commons and Copy Left are disruptive approaches to research and development; creative and innovative works. Journals may be refereed, but also creative commons. Websites can be academic but creative commons (i.e. sharing information freely). http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/ has been online since 1996. Another example: Academic Commons is a community of faculty, academic technologists, librarians, administrators, and other academic professionals interested in two interlocking questions: how do creative uses of new technology and networked information support the current project of liberal education, and, perhaps more interestingly, how do they force us to re-think what it means to be liberally educated? http://www.academiccommons.org/ - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 9, 2010
  • In the K12 sector the intellectual property laws are breached both on purpose and unintended every day. A new more up-to-date set of rules is highly required and has been for several decades.
    - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Feb 7, 2010
  • In the K-12 sector in Australia, software licensing in schools is heavily weighted toward proprietary software companies. The licensing approaches to software are not (in my opinion) sustainable and we are already seeing that software with alternative licensing arrangements emerging in schools.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I find that the emphasis in 'copyleft' of the right to copy being LEFT in place is helpful for educators to understand the difference between restricting the rights in copyright and having the right to copy left in place with copyleft.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010
  • another response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • As mentioned above, I think this technology has the potential to have a huge impact on learning - among those of use trying to better understand the challenges we face in improving education. Then, ultimately, it will impact the students in the schools.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010- jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 6, 2010
  • Alternative licensing would change the paradigms for teaching and learning and for research, and hopefully democratise information.

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

  • I have started an open research environment called "Researchers Without Borders " that is devoted to exploring the potential of the open research environment for solving some of the most challenging problems in improving education K12.- jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 6, 2010
  • Not sure what level of detail you want here? The Cape Town Open Education Declaration is really important for helping having something to point to. Projects such as LAMS by James Dalziel et al show how open source software and licensing can be implemented in the schools sector.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 9, 2010