DOKK Library

Creative Commons Licensing and Open Educational Resources

Authors Jonathan A Poritz

License CC-BY-SA-4.0

        Slides on Creative Commons Licensing and Open
         Educational Resources for a Panel Discussion
           What Campus Leaders Need to Know about
               Copyright and Intellectual Property
                   from WCET on 23 July 2020
                       For more information about this event, see

These slides, by Jonathan A Poritz, are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0
International license. See for remixable versions.
    The Creative Commons Alternative to All-Rights-Reserved Copyright
           1.   Public domain dedication tool, CC0

                 ○ Puts work into worldwide public domain
           2. Public domain mark, PDM
                 ○ Marks a work known to be in the public domain

           3. Creative Commons Attribution, CC BY
                 ○ Give credit to the original creator
           4. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, CC BY-SA
                 ○ Give credit and derivatives to be released under same license

           5. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical, CC BY-NC
                 ○ Give credit and don’t use to make a profit

           6. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, CC BY-NC-SA

                 ○ Credit, no profit, derivatives under same license
           7. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives, CC BY-ND                                     ARR ©
                 ○ Credit, may not share derivative works publicly
           8. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives, CC BY-NC-ND
           CC licenses are built on top of copyright, so
             ● You must control the rights on a work to put it under a CC license. [Also true of CC0.]
             ● CC license terms do not apply when a work is used by fair use or other exception/limitation of ©.
             ● CC licenses apply to expressions, not ideas. Copy/remix/distribute ideas as much as you want!
           CC licenses are irrevocable, but a rightsholder can put out a work under different licenses at different
           times. Rightsholders are not bound, themselves, by the limits imposed on the public by a CC license.
 Open Educational Resources [OER]: Potential
                                                                                                 Wiley:           Jhangiani:
   “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or       ● Retain          ● Respect
    have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and    ● Reuse           ● Reciprocate
    re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials,   ● Revise          ● Risk
    modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or    ● Remix           ● Reach
    techniques used to support access to knowledge.” -- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation     ● Redistribute    ● Resist

“Free repurposing” and Wiley’s 5Rs amount to nothing more or less than pedagogical academic freedom.
      In fact, it’s a little weird that faculty are so accepting of educational resources under ARR ©...
“Free use” amounts to getting off the gravy train (for publishers) which has seen textbook costs rise at many
      times the rate of inflation. It’s hard to justify textbooks that cost $200 or even $300 or $400 when: total
      student debt in the US is $1.74 trillion; 39% of students surveyed in 2019 were food insecure in the
      month prior to be surveyed, 46% were housing insecure in the prior year, and 17% were homeless.

Because of textbook cost, students take fewer classes, do more poorly, take longer to complete their studies,
     etc.; many students do not buy required texts or online access, but share books or skip those points.

Studies show when courses switch from commercial resources: student and instructor satisfaction goes up;
      academic performance goes up and DFW rate goes down -- and these effects are significantly larger
      for Pell-eligible and self-identified minority students, by as much as a factor of three.
OER: Reality
The Good:
● OER have saved students at least $1 billion.
● Millions of students use OER, at more than half of US colleges and universities.
● The Open Textbook Library ( has 766 books, most reviewed by
● OpenStax ( has around 60 textbooks that look very much like commercial ones.
● LibreTexts ( hosts nearly 400 resources and has a sophisticated remix tool.
● OASIS ( and OER Commons ( are OER search engines.
● Platforms like PressBooks (, PreTeXt (, and others make copying,
  adapting, and creating beautiful OER quite easy.
● Organizations like The Open Textbook Network ( and The Rebus Community
  ( support campuses with organization, platforms, training, etc.
● All of these wonderful resources and tools circulate freely and without legal obstacles to the 5R
  permissions because they are under Creative Commons licenses.
The Bad and the Ugly:
● OER may not have as many supplemental materials as commercial resources - but this is improving!
● OER are thought not to be as accessible (i.e., ADA-compliant) as commercial resources - this is false.
● Most problematic: there is a widespread belief that “you get what you pay for,” so OER must be
  worthless since they cost nothing. This is in fact the opposite of the truth, for the academic freedom
  reasons mentioned above among many other reasons -- e.g., open [or OER-enabled] pedagogy is the
  most interesting and powerful pedagogical innovation that has happened in decades!