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.

Publishers, authors, and institutions are exploring a variety of flexible approaches to licensing and rights management. 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.

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

  • In many ways, this is not a "technology" so much as a digital skill that needs to be taught and used by both students and teachers in K12. Important, but does it fit under "emerging technologies"? - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 21, 2011
  • The impact of software licensing on teaching, learning and creativity, in my opinion is fundamental to education. The types of software selected and therefore the types of functionality they offer, reflect the values of those software makers and their purchases. Over the past decade I have written about the limitations certain licensing regimes have on teaching and learning, so I don't see this issue as a new one, but rather a perennial one. Reflecting on the question posed: 'Which of the key technologies we have listed below will be most important to teaching, learning, or creative expression within the next five years?' Alternative licensing arrangements in my opinion are critical to innovation and creativity and as such, I would like to think that alternative licensing arrangements would be one of those emerging in the next five years, but the dominance of the market is hard to push.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 26, 2011
  • This is enormous in its cost implications, potentially, while recognizing that school district support for open educational content will itself cost money, the promise exists to reduce textbook costs and have far more current, evergreen learning materials that are open content licensed - emphasized in the 2010 National Education Technology Plan for the USA [- roy.pea roy.pea Feb 27, 2011]
  • I think that awareness raising on licensing arrangements among teachers in K-12 in Africa is beginning to surface as a crucial area of engagement. Online courses have already been on offer to teachers in South Africa with limited responses from teachers thus far.- shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs Feb 28, 2011[[[user: shafika.isaacs==(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?==
  • The Creative Commons "Share Alike" provision is a form of "CopyLeft" - brandt.redd brandt.redd Feb 18, 2011
  • It seems like this technology, "new scholarship," and "open content" have a lot of overlap. - jeanne.century jeanne.century Feb 21, 2011 I agree with Jeanne - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 26, 2011
  • I think to promote open education, alternative licensing, new scholarship and other such initiatives, that both the educational and financial arguments for them have to presented concurrently. The financial side requires ROI and VOI evidence.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 26, 2011

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

  • Personalized or "closed-loop" education can be facilitated by online courseware. However, the requisite computer hardware adds a cost burden. Some of that burden can be balancd by reducing the cost of curriculum. Open-licensed digital curricula may be an answer. Foundations like Hewlett, Carnegie and Gates are funding the development of high-quality open-license curricula made available through repositories like NROC (http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/). The Carnegie Mellon creators of the Open Learning Initiative (http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/) posit four feedback loops: Immediate feedback to the student, informing the teacher, improving the curriculum and furthering learning science. David Wiley, founder of the Open High School of Utah, (http://www.openhighschool.org/) adopted open courseware at that institution because they needed the ability to continuously improve the curriculum. A closed license doesn't permit the content to be modified or improved. - brandt.redd brandt.redd Feb 18, 2011
  • Same idea behind Wikipedia. Everyone contributes to the body of knowledge. Curriculum should be a shared learning experience with multiple points of view included. We need to promote more collaboration among teahers and students. alice.owen- alice.owen alice.owen Feb 19, 2011
  • The philosophy that sits behind it. Putting an emphasis on co-creation of knowledge and contributing to the public good. These are important values that should also underpin education, in my opinion. From a school management perspective, certain open licensing regimes make it easier to manage the overall licensing requirements of the school as those that leave the right to copy in place remove the requirement to surveil that software so heavily to ensure compliance.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 26, 2011

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

Cape Town Open Education Declaration. I have written about the influence of licensing on teaching and learning of school students for the past decade.- kathryn.moyle kathryn.moyle Feb 26, 2011