Licensing of OER

Document created by Digital Support on Mar 28, 2018Last modified by Digital Support on Mar 28, 2018
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Intellectual property rights are the globally accepted benefits and protection of intangible creations, such as the authorship of scientific, literary, or artistic works. Open licensing is built within this framework to grant permission for access, re-use, and redistribution of a work with minimal or no restrictions. There are several common open licensing options associated with OER, including Creative Commons, royalty-free, and the standard YouTube license.


Creative Commons (CC) 

Creative Commons license types are often combined together (ex: CC BY-NC-SA). The definitions of each element can be found below:
  • Attribution (BY): Content can be modified and/or distributed, even for commercial purposes, as long as the original author is credited.
  • ShareAlike (SA): Content can be modified as long as the derivative work is licensed under the same terms as the original.
  • NoDerivatives (ND): Content may be only distributed as-is.
  • NonCommercial (NC): Content can be modified and/or distributed only for non-commercial purposes.


Creative Commons Zero (CC0): The owner waves all rights to the work worldwide under copyright law. This means they are dedicating the resources to the public domain. The work has no restrictions of any kind and you can modify, distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even for commercial purposes.


visual representation of Creative Commons licenses
"Creative Commons Licenses" by Foter is licensed under CC BY-SA.


Royalty-Free (RF)

The royalty-free license allows distribution of a work without the need to pay a per copy license fee or royalties to the author of the work. This does not mean the work is free, and initial permission from the author is required.


Standard YouTube License

Videos with the standard YouTube license may only be distributed through the YouTube website or via an embedded player. It should be noted that uploaded content must not infringe upon copyright, and if necessary permissions are not obtained, content can be removed. 

Please note: This has been written by individuals who are not lawyers. Nothing on this page should be considered as legal advice.

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