Friday, September 10, 2010

What You Can Do with Creative Commons

In the past it seems the only time I've been asked to talk about copyright is when there was a danger someone might not be observing it. I've held many workshops where there is just a short time to remind participants not to post copyrighted material to their website, blog, wiki etc. . . And because the workshop wasn't solely about copyright and because copyright can be confusing, I've seldom had the time to fully answer questions or give what I feel are good alternatives. Therefore the quick message was a lot of "don't" and "can't" and not much of "can" or "do." And this is often the same message passed on to students.

But I think we can empower ourselves and our classrooms with some "can's" and "do's." A good alternative is Creative Commons (CC), which is a movement I've been a fan of for some time. To be clear, I am not a copyright expert or a lawyer, but from my perspective, the appeal of this option is that it seems relatively straight-forward. There there are some great posts and sites on how CC can be used by educators. Perhaps one of the best examples are the posts by the Clever Sheep who has created several resources for Creative Commons and education.

So here is my best take on using Creative Commons materials in your classrooms:
With CC, the creator can license work for reuse or noncommercial use. There are some guidelines, but much of the material is licensed for noncommercial use, so educators and students have the ability to use and reuse great media without the fear of copyright violation. There are a lot of sites with high quality media that are licensed with Creative Commons. I have listed a few of my favorites below.

CC Licensed Images:
CC Audio:
All CC Media:
One of the best options for students and teachers may still be creating your own media. Basically if you take the picture or create the music, you own the copyright. And this could be a great moment to discuss the licensing options and how it impacts a creative work. Maybe you and your students will license your work with Creative Commons license and add to the content being used and shared by educators.

You might find that Creative Commons is a way to have copyright discussions that don't just revolve around what you can't do.

Additional resources for CC in education:
Images used:

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