Open licensing is the foundation upon which open educational resources are created. Using open licensing, frequently a Creative Commons (CC) license, the author of an open educational resource maintains copyright of their work while allowing others to freely use the content as long as the terms of the license are met. This gives others the right to share, use, and build upon the original scholarship.
Open licenses provide a bridge between PUBLIC DOMAIN and TRADITIONAL COPYRIGHT. With public domain, no intellectual property rights are reserved by the content creator and content users are under no limitations on how they can use content. With TRADITIONAL COPYRIGHT, all rights are reserved and permissions must be obtained for each use which is covered by the copyright.
With OPEN LICENSING, such as Creative Commons, the content creator continues to own the copyright of the content. By applying an open license to the content, they give permissions in advance to anyone using the content allowing certain uses without the need to seek permissions with each use.
Creative Commons Licensing and the 5Rs
David Wiley, an open educational content advocate and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, has captured the 'openness' provided to content creators allowed under open licensing using what he refers to as "the 5 Rs of open educational resources." These give any faculty the freedom to:
This concept of openness gives faculty increased flexibility to create teaching resources customized to their classroom and instruction needs.
As a creator of OER, you can choose the conditions of reuse and modification by selecting one or more of the elements listed below:
Others can copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.
Others can copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for non-commercial purposes only.
Others are allowed to distribute your work (and derivatives) only under a license identical to the license that governs your work
Others can copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
Some things to remember when applying CC license...