Open Educational Resources (OER) include a rather vast array of online resources that are free for everyone’s use. They are educational elements that are available to anyone who wishes to teach or learn. The array includes games, lectures, lessons, assessments, digital media, assignments, activities and more.
A relatively new method of dealing with the fast-growing digital world and creators’ rights has been addressed by a non-profit group, Creative Commons. It is young but has global standing. The licenses of CC do not replace traditional copyrights, but seek to open up the usage of material created in the digital world.
The six main licenses are:
This item may be copied, displayed and performed and derivative works may be created on it only if the user gives the author or license holder the credits as specified by them.
Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they give the author or licensor the credits in the manner specified by them.
CC BY – ND
The work may be used and passed on commercially or non-commercially, giving credit to the creator/owner, but no derivatives can be made.
Attribution – NonCommercial – ShareAlike
The user may re-mix, change and distribute a new work non-commercially if the creator/owner is given proper credit and the work is licensed under the same terms as the original.
Attribution – ShareAlike
CC BY – SA
The work may be used, recreated and built on for commercial purposes. The creator/owner must be credited and the new creation must be licensed under the same terms as the original. This is the license used by Wikipedia.
Attribution – NonCommercial
CC BY – NC
The work may be recreated and built upon non-commercially. The creator/owner must be credited, but the same licenses as the original does not have to be used.
CC BY – NC – ND
The work may be downloaded and shared with others. The creator/owner must be credited, but the work cannot be changed or used commercially.
The main six licenses can be combined in several ways. The long-term efficacy of these licenses has yet to be determined in litigation. To date, there have been several cases that actually went to the courts. So far, the justices have found in favor of the holders of CC licenses. However, the future, in terms of litigation, has not been assured.