Engage Event: Copyright and Licencing

Hello – still live blogging at our ‘Engage’ event for teachers and educators…

Our discussions have moved onto the nuts and bolts of copyright and distribution.

Here’s a taster of what we’re talking about:

What is copyright?

  • It’s not interesting – but it is important!
  • Copyright applies to expression, not ideas
  • In the UK copyright ends 70 years after the death of the author
  • Sometimes visuals are in copyright but audio is not (i.e. in the case of some films)

What is ‘public domain’?

  • There is no such thing as public domain in the UK! In the USA an author can pass their rights over to the ‘public domain’, but in the UK someone will own the copyright until 70 years after the author’s death.

When are you allowed to distribute/ share?

  • You need an open licence – the main one (and the one we use) is ‘Creative Commons
  • Open licencing shouldn’t be confused with ‘Open access’ where you can’t necessarily share and distribute

Different stipulations of Creative Commons licences:

  • Attribution – you need to say who the author is
  • Non-commercial – cannot be used for making money
  • No derivatives – can’t share or make adaptations
  • Sharealike – you can make adaptations, but the next sharer must also allow people to make adaptations and should also make new work shareable
  • Here’s a fuller explanation: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

What is ‘OER’?

So what type of resource is Great Writers Inspire?

  • It is an OER
  • It uses the sharealike stipulation of Creative Commons Licences, so you are free to distribute, adapt, and reuse the material on our site
  • You still need to attribute our site
  • And you can’t make money out of it
  • And you must allow others to share and adapt your new GWI-based work
  • Here’s a breakdown of our licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/


Comments/ questions from delegates:

Q1: So can we make a PowerPoint out of clips from the Great Writers Inspire website then upload it to our school website?

A1: Yes – but you must put it out on a Creative Commons licence with a ‘sharealike’ stipulation, like ours. You must also attribute us. And you must not make money out of it.

Q2: Do academics get the same credit for recording an open licenced podcast as they would for publishing in a traditional subscription-only academic journal?

A2: The credit they would get is not really comparable. But the credit is there. In order to secure funding, universities now have to show that they are engaging with the public and are achieving ‘Impact’ – their podcasts should count towards this.

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