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Published October 13, 2013 | Multidisciplinary

How to Integrate Creative Commons Licenses into Your Courses

The time to update your courses has arrived. Now is when to research articles, diagrams, illustrations, photographs, sound recordings and other videos to illustrate concepts taught in class. There is a great temptation to incorporate this content directly into your documentation, however, without attributing copyright.

But this is also the moment to put your respect for intellectual property to the test. It is indeed wrong to think that teachers (and students) are exempt from these considerations.

How does one know if content is subject to copyright protection? The answer is simple. Unless otherwise noted, the vast majority of original content available on the Internet is intellectual property even if the © symbol does not appear on the site. There is no need to register anything.

How do authors express their willingness to freely share content? This is when the Creative Commons license comes in. It can help you to properly use copyright without being a specialist. For example, the content of the Profweb site as well as that of Vitrine technologie-éducation falls under a Creative Commons license mentioned at the foot of their webpage while specifying conditions through simple and standardized terms.

A Simplified Approach with a Standard License

A Creative Commons license protects teachers who share their personal and original content on the web from possible disputes concerning the reuse of educational content found on the Internet. It has been harmonized with the legislation of dozens of countries.

It also helps students understand that the content made ​​available by their teacher respects copyright.

There are four modules that can be combined according to your needs in a universally recognized licensing model:

icône paternité

Attribution :

With this clause, you allow third parties to reproduce, distribute, and communicate your work and its derivatives on the condition that you attribute authorship. This is common to all Creative Commons licenses.

icône non commerciale

Noncommercial :

You offer third parties the possibility to reproduce, distribute and display your work and its derivatives for non-commercial purposes only. Your consent is required for any potential commercial use.

icône partage

Share Alike :

You allow others to distribute derivative content of your work, as long as their license is the same as you had originally chosen.

icône pas de modification

No Change :

You allow third parties to reproduce, distribute and display your work in its original form without modification. Your consent is required for any translation, transformation or reuse.

Creative Commons licenses are based on the combination of these modules which can clearly define the conditions for reuse of your work. For an explanation of the various Creative Commons licenses that result from the groupings of these clauses, to the page - About the Licenses on the Creative Commons site.

Some simple questions can quickly determine the proper licenses for your needs:

  1. Do I want to allow commercial use of my material?
  2. Do I want to allow my work to be modified?
    • If so, do I want to require derivative works to be redistributed with the license initially selected?

The Increasing Popularity of Creative Commons Licenses

The use of Creative Commons licenses is increasingly common. As proof, it is now possible to search the Creative Commons sections of GoogleFlickr (photos), Jamendo (music), SpinXpress (mainstream media), YouTubeTED TalksWikimedia Commons and Wikipedia, or use the research tools of Creative Commons.

Try It Out!

Are you ready to try out Creative Commons? Use the  license selector to help you make your choice. This tool will allow you to generate text and a logo to put on the homepage of your blog or in the footer of a publication. Keep us informed of your achievements in our “Comments” section!

Have you already uploaded content to the web? Now is the time to add a Creative Commons license!

About the Author

Christophe Reverd After an initial career as an entrepreneur, then as an IT consultant, he joined the team at Vitrine technologie-éducation as an ICT Education Advisor. Christophe holds a Master’s degree in IT Governance and completed a “microprogramme” in Pedagogy of Higher Education at the Université de Sherbrooke, where he teaches as a lecturer to IT professionals and graduate students in the Administration and Science Faculties. He is also involved as a board member of the not-for-profit Robotique Zone01 and created the Club Framboise, which brings users of the Raspberry Pi computer from Montreal and surrounding regions together.

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