OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Evidence-LegalIssues
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Page history last edited by Lou McGill 11 years, 4 months ago

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See also


Evidence - Institutional processes

Evidence - Sustainability


Processes for sustainability

Legal issues


Themes strand

CORE-SET (CORE-SET final report) | ReACTOR (ReACTOR Final report) |  Opening up a future in business (Future in business Final Report)COMC (COMC Final report) | PARIS (PARIS Final Project Report)  HALS OER (HALS OER Final Project Report)PublishOER (PublishOER final report) | Great Writers (Great Writers Final Report)|  ALTO UK (ALTO UK Final Report)  | ORBIT (ORBIT Final Report) | DEFT (DEFT Final Report)    | FAVOR (FAVOR Final Report) | SESAME (SESAME Final Report) |


OMAC strand

BLOCKeD (BLOCKeD Final Report) |   Digital Literacy and Creativity (Digital Literacy and Creativity Final Report | Academic Practice in Context (Academic Practice in Context Final report) | Teeside Open Learning Units (Teeside Open Learning Units Final Report)


Legal issues


What legal and IPR issues emerged during your project and how did you overcome them?

  • The project undertook some very lengthy and tedious discussions with Apple in order to purchase a licence that would allow Doncaster College to develop mobile applications and release them onto the istore.  In summary the project had two license options: 1) to purchase a commercial licence that would allow the resources to be released onto the istore and accessed by educational institutions and private/public sector organisations 2) to purchase an educational license which would mean that the resources could only be published to iTunes U and therefore not accessible to private/public sector organisations. The project decided the commercial licence would allow the resources to be disseminated to a wider audience however Apple would not issue a licence as Doncaster College is not a registered company.  The project then applied for an educational licence and was told that the College is not registered on the International University database and so the licence was refused.  The strange thing is a few weeks later the project then received a call to say that the application for a commercial licence had been approved and the license was issued.  It is not clear what happened here but projects looking to create applications for mobile devices in the future should be made aware that there is no rhyme or reason to the release of licenses from Apple! (ReACTOR Final report)
  • There are fundamental copyright (and possibly consent) issues relating to content particularly images from texts and other existing third party published content. In many cases authors still own images which are licenced to the publishers – and may be available for onward licensing (or if they are it would still often be easier to commission new content). (PublishOER Interim Report)
  • the need to thoroughly check the source of images or texts has come to the fore in this project. To ensure that the project stays true to its objective of providing open materials which are suitable for reuse we are making efforts to check that we do not infringe copyright and that we educate our content producers to adopt the same standards. As the project does not have the resources for any rights clearance activities we are only able to adopt a policy of ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ if contributors fail to abide by our guidance. (Great Writers Interim Report)
  • Surfacing pre-existing materials (e.g. from the Oxford Text Archive and the Oxford Google Books Project) would not have been possible without the Creative Commons licence, allowing Great Writers Inspire to exploit existing archives of texts and other media. (Great Writers Final Report)
  •  A barrier to content collection was copyright and this influenced the writers and periods that could be included. The project still features some representation of contemporary writers who remain within copyright under UK Copyright Law, but these collections do not feature the writers’ work as ebooks.(Great Writers Inspire Project Final Report)
  • In sourcing materials to enrich collections, content contributors and the project team experienced significant frustration and issues with copyright and licenses. It continues to be difficult to find correctly licensed content when searching the internet; licences are often unclear and hard to find and this made the pool of resources available to the project more restricted. All too frequently websites have a Creative Commons logo on them but, when you investigate further, individual resources will have a very different status. The interpretation of public domain can be confusing for academic and student contributors, particularly the difference between US and UK public domain, and resulted in a significant change to one of the planned themes (Modernist Periodicals) as it transpired that we were unable to use two US-based websites to access digital versions of the texts. (Great Writers Inspire Project Final Report)
  • A number of IPR/Copyright issues have emerged and required attention as a result of releasing what were written as internal publications rather than as OERs for use by a wider audience.  This has required some editing/re-writing or the addition of a background statement for some resources to ensure perceived relevance for other users.  The extent of the changes required has varied by topic/resource content and writing style of different authors but has taken additional time and resources that were not anticipated initially.  As a result of this learning however, internal processes and procedures for the ongoing development of additional titles in the Rough and Quick Guide Series are being amended to ensure these issues do not arise in the future.(Teeside Open Learning Units Interim Report)
  •  Every effort was made to identify the necessary permissions for each potential new ORBIT resource, and this took a considerable amount of time and energy. The Project Secretary made contact with relevant organisations and/or individuals, always including a clear description of the nature of the permissions required for ORBIT. Overall, the responses were positive with people and organisations granting the right to use their content (for example using a wide range of media: videos, PowerPoint presentations, articles, images, etc.) as well as showing an interest in the ORBIT project. Requests sent to publishers were on the whole rejected due to the existing established contracts between authors and publishers or, indeed, have simply not been acknowledged as publishers tend to take a very long time to process any permission requests. (ORBIT Final report)
  • Throughout the process of developing the online resources, fluent communication between the authors and technical support staff ensured that all third party materials used in the resources were published under a Creative Commons licence. On a number of occasions, especially at the start of the process, authors had included non-open materials such as images and graphs with copyright. Once potentially problematic material had been highlighted by the technical support staff, a number of options were proposed to the authors. The first option was to seek alternative materials which represent the same or similar content which is licensed under a Creative Commons licence. The second option was to seek permission from the copyright holder of the licensed material to replicate it and to publish and license it under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial share alike license. In cases where this permission was granted, a short statement was provided under the relevant object detailing the terms of use expressed by the third party contributor. (PARiS Final Report)
  • The drafts which were provided to the technical support staff at the later stages of the project were inclusive of almost all open and usable content. The main reason for this was that authors gradually became aware of the requirements of open publication. The geography resource for example provided a platform from which authors of other modules could base their resources. By allowing authors to view previously developed resources which had been sieved for problematic materials, it was possible for them to produce drafts which contained mainly material licensed under a Creative Commons license. On occasions, a table of queries were provided to authors in order to address any materials that needed changing. (PARiS Final Report)
  • From an early stage, it became clear that Elsevier were unable to licence any of their content embedded in WikiVet as CC at this time. Therefore all images and other media required an ‘all rights reserved’ clause, which allowed the publisher to request they were removed from an OER at any given point in the future. Subsequently there was a delay in getting approval to use a resource once it had been identified as being of value. Once the project team had identified an asset it had to be described in as much detail as possible down to the individual image level, a member in Elsevier’s veterinary team then had to refer this information to the Elsevier Digital Rights Team to check whether there were any third party rights restrictions. (PublishOER Final Report)
  •  it was possible to include third party published works in OER however significant (almost prohibitive) effort was required to acquire permission. There were issues of matching the content that we knew we could use in OER to the OER that we wanted to create. The policy principle requiring that a rights-reserved resource was time-limited seemed to be a show-stopper, unless the licence (with an end-point) was stamped directly onto the resource. This was still not a full-proof solution as the resource could still be in circulation after the licence had timed out. We anticipated that more technical tools would be available in future to support management of licensed materials online, however at this stage risk-aversion among copyright holders has seriously affected, for example, development of the case studies. (PublishOER Final Report)
  • In our interviews with stakeholders (senior institutional managers, publishers, authors, students, etc.) even authors were unsure what their obligations and rights were under copyright law. We interviewed several who didn’t know that materials that they had produced for a third party (books, reports, CD ROMS, etc.), without formal contract, still belonged to them/their employers, while others were under the impression that, although they had signed ownership of copyright away (to publishers) they could continue to use their own creative works without seeking permission from the new owner. In considering ‘out of copyright’ works unless you personally owned the original (lucky you!) you would always be working with a copy, which itself was copyright.
    (PublishOER Final Report)
  • Institutions across the UK and students around the world are poised to take widespread advantage of the culture of open academic practice and massive open online courses (MOOCs). As independent and open access publishing channels are embraced (e.g. Saylor Foundation, 2012; Apple Computer, 2012), journal and textbook publishers are looking for new business models to maintain profit margins and the investment in high quality products from respected authors. The use and re-use of third party resources in education is complicated by legalities of copyright, performance and consent where the law (under review) is out of date in our technological world, consuming more in transaction costs and legal uncertainty than the resources themselves. Institutions are running legal risks as they seek to fulfil their 'offer' to students. Meanwhile learners are accessing free content from all around the world. Should every institution seek to share their learning resources? Should we all use the content provided by MIT and simply accredit it? Could the cost of, say, a medical degree be reduced by accrediting open learning as part of (or prior to) the course? Can we justify the price of our courses for supporting the 'process' of learning? (PublishOER Final Report)
  • Staff development within institutions is desperately needed, and it will take a considerable amount of time, to raise levels of compliance:
    • Attributing third party works;
    • Seeking permission;
    • Replacing current unlicensed content with openly licensed alternatives;
    • Signposting copyright statements clearly (on your own work);
    • Routinely carrying disclaimers;
    • Managing expectations of assistance with complex legal enquiries;
    • Taking a risk-managed rather than a risk-averse approach to incorporating published works in OER. (PublishOER Final Report)
  • Despite significant efforts to improve staff understanding of IPR issues, Universities, like any other large organisations encounter problems in enabling staff to translate knowledge into practice.  A simple question as to what should be owned through copyright and what as a public body we should put into OER format is an ongoing discussion.  It has been interesting in having Aston as a critical friend as they are further on in the discussion of open ownership.  A University may base its VLE on an open source product and still not have clearly articulated its position on OER production. We can see movement towards openness in that it is now an option on both SEA (Solent Electronic Archive http://ssudl.solent.ac.uk/) and the VLE for lecturers putting up resources to choose whether to save material under a variety of Creative Commons licences or select the copyright option.. It is a key element of projects such as this to push for greater understanding of opening ownership through Creative Commons’ licences and to adopt common formats on key forms such as those for consent within the University. (Future in business Final Report)
  • the problems we had with the quality or provenance of existing resources meant that we quickly had to rethink our plans and organise a greater amount of filming than we had anticipated.  (Future in business Final Report)



What licences did you adopt?

  • The most restrictive licence used on the site is CC-BY-NC-SA (the Creative Commons licence adopted by the University of Oxford for its podcasting activities), and this is the licence which is displayed at the foot of each web page. However many episodes have a more open licence and therefore each episode displays its own licence (with additional RDFA), and, wherever possible, each reuse option also includes the licence. In addition, each picture resource has the option of being downloaded with an embedded licence, like the service provided by the Xpert Media Search. (Great Writers Inspire Project Final Report)
  • Ebooks - The University of Oxford has a substantial collection of ebooks in the OTA http://ota.oucs.ox.ac.uk and from the Bodleian Library http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/dbooks through the Google Books Project. Both of these sources make the texts available under a Creative Commons licence and were available for use by the project. As part of the programme of work at Oxford in the area of OER, enhancement of the OTA is of particular relevance to Great Writers Inspire and the work undertaken and underway is reported in Appendix 13. Another key source for eBooks, also available under a Creative Commons licence, was Ebooks@Adelaide11. In addition, individual eBooks were sourced from more specialist repositories as long as the licence could be found and was compatible. (Great Writers Inspire Project
  • teaching materials were released using a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 Unported licence. (ORBIT Final Report)
  • OER were all released under the Creative Commons BY SA license without exception. Senior managers and departmental heads at external organisations signed copyright permissions form to support OER production as part of HALS. Care was taken to look for layers of copyright within OER that was being reused and repurposed. YouTube and Flickr content was uploaded with the CC license selected. Copyright information was included on the HALS “Biology Courses” website alongside the policy statement. (HALS OER Final Project Report) 

































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