just to clear up some potential confusion Open does *not equal digital, and *open does not equal free. Perhaps * a Venn diagram would helpThere are free materials online that are not open, and there are open materials that are not online. *
Kaleidoscope Overview of Copyright
Uses copyright to enforce sharing
OER: The 4R Permissions
Sharing and creativity are inherent in OER:
• Use the content in its unaltered form
• Adapt, adjust, modify, improve, or alter the
• Combine the original or revised content with
other OER to create something new
• Share copies of the original content, revisions
or remixes with others
Open ≠ Digital
Open ≠ Free
Two Sides of Open
Gratis: Free as in “free beer”
Libre: Free as in “free speech”
Enables collaboration, adaptability
You decide to include your own lecture notes in
This is OK: You are the copyright holder. A copyright
holder can do anything they want with their work.
You decide to include a PDF of a journal article
from Nature in the course.
This is not OK: You are providing access to a
Citing some passages as part of a critique or review
would be fine
You want to post a link to an article on the
Linking to a work provided online by the copyright
holder is always OK.
The downside is that if Forbes removes the article or
changes the URL, you lose access.
You want to include a PDF of a chapter from your
current textbook in the course.
This is not OK: The copyrighted material is readily
available for purchase, and by posting it online,
you’re affecting the market for that product.
This is not allowed ever, even under Fair Use.
This is piracy.
You did a Google search, and found another site
that has a PDF of a chapter from a Pearson
textbook. You want to post a link to that site in
This is still not OK: Just because someone else
facilitated the piracy does not make it legal. This is
the same reason that it’s illegal to download music
and movies that someone posted online.
You want to include a PDF of a CC-BY-NC licensed
textbook in the course.
This is OK: By adding a Creative Commons license,
the copyright holder has explicitly allowed you to
redistribute the work.
You find a great website that a teacher at another
school put up with their lecture notes. The website
says the materials are free for education use. You
want to include a copy in your course.
This is gray zone, but probably not OK: Saying that
the materials are free for educational use does not
necessarily allow redistributing. Some folks would
not allow it, especially if their website includes
advertisements. It would be best to contact the
author (and suggest they use a CC license).
You want to use some assessment questions in the
course that came in a test bank you got with an old
This is not OK: The test bank is copyrighted material.
The exception is questions that are so generic no-one
could possibly claim them as unique, like “What
element is represented by the symbol Fe?”
You want to embed a video from YouTube in your
Like a link, you risk the video disappearing.
You want to include in your course:
1) a chapter from a CC Attribution-ShareAlike (BYSA) licensed book and
2) a few sections of a chapter from a CC AttributionShareAlike-NonCommercial (BY-SA-NC) licensed
This is fine. You are revising and redistributing
each chapter, as allowed. You are not
An instructor decides to make some edits to a
chapter from a CC Attribution (BY) licensed book.
She adds some additional original content, and
revises some of the language.
This is revising, and is fully allowed. Because of the
permissions of the BY license, she course make her
revised work available under almost any license:
fully restricted, CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-SANC, etc.
An instructor wants to spice up their lecture notes by
add into it an image from Wikipedia that is CC
Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) licensed.
This is remixing, and is permissible. Since the
Wikipedia image has a ShareAlike license, the
resulting document must also be released under the
same Attribution-ShareAlike license.
An instructor decides to make some edits to a
chapter from a CC Attribution-ShareAlikeNonCommercial (BY-SA-NC) licensed book. She
adds some additional original content, and revises
some of the language.
This is revising, and is fully allowed. Because the
original work had a ShareAlike license, she would be
required to keep the same license on her revised
An instructor wants to use a chapter from a CC
licensed book in their course, but wants to add into
it an image from Wikipedia that is CC AttributionShareAlike (BY-SA) licensed and an image they
found on Flickr that is CC Attribution (BY) licensed.
This is remixing. Using the Flickr image is fine with
attribution, since the BY license allows remixing with
any other license.
Using the Wikipedia image is not ok, since both the
SA licenses require any remix to keep the same
An instructor decides to make a Creative Commons
licensed book more engaging by embedding
YouTube videos directly into the text materials.
This is revising of the book, and is fully allowed.
content into other pages.
The downside is that the video may disappear from
YouTube at some point. Unless the video is CC
licensed, we can’t make a backup copy and host it
ourselves in the LMS.