Sunday, May 16, 2010

OpenCourseWare Consortium and Copyright

I've visited a couple of OpenCourseWare sites of late and have been baffled at the lack of clear information concerning the copyright applied to their educational materials. My curiosity led me to write them to ask what was up. Here are the copyright rules for the OCW consortium:

OCW course materials are made available to the public under a license that:

  • Grants users the right to use and distribute the materials either as-is, or in a modified form:
  • Allows users to create derivative works:
    • Edit
    • Translate
    • Reformat
    • Add to, combine with, or incorporate into other materials
  • Obliges users to meet certain requirements as a condition of use:
    • Use must be non-commercial (optional)
    • Materials must be attributed to [Your Institution] and to original author/contributor
    • Publication or distribution of original or derivative materials must be offered freely to others under identical terms (“share alike”) (optional).

That seems pretty clear. One of the entities I wrote responded to my inquiry this morning. I'd asked back in March:
Dear Kevin

Thank you for your email. We are in process of placing CC and copyright information on our website.

Best Regards

Okay, that's something. The other university, a major midwest public school still hasn't responded to my questions, and continues to sport an all-rights-reserved copyright notice on all their pages.

So what gives with OCW? Is this something people can just slap on their site, and no one bothers to check that the conditions of membership are actually being met? Inquiring minds want to know.

1 comment:

Ileane Smith said...

Hi Kevin, You might want to try Academic Earth to see what their copyright policy is. I think that a lot of the OCW content (video at least) appears there also.