OER Licensing Models

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Discussion

Stephen Downes:

"Another type of content issue concerns the license associated with the resource (a matter that has been alluded to above). It is worth noting that one of the major expenses faces in MIT's OpenCourseWare project was the clearing of licenses for all materials used, even though they did not pay royalties or use commercial content for any of it. (Downes, 2002) Numerous licensing schemes exist, including Creative Commons and the Gnu Public License.

Licensing models vary according to a variety of factors: (UNESCO, 2005a)

- Does the published material remain the property of the person who produced it?

- Can authors request material to be removed from the user site?

- Can material be updated or amended only upon author approval?

- Can content be exclusively used by non-profit educational organizations, or can for-profit institutions have access?

The question of modification and adaptation has raised considerable interest among those discussing OEMs. As Mason (1994) summarizes, "The accusation of cultural imperialism has long been levelled at attempts to export courses outside national boundaries, particularly as most of the examples involved Western institutions providing courses for Third World countries." (http://www.downes.ca/files/FreeLearning.pdf)