Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ockham's Razor

QUESTIONS: Can you think of license options that CC is currently missing that would benefit the open education movement? As the CC and GFDL licenses are incompatible, how can OCW content be legally remixed with Wikipedia content? Some people claim that the Creative Commons ShareAlike clause provides most of the protections people want to secure from the Creative Commons NonCommercial clause. What do you think these people mean, are they right, and why? Is copyleft good for the open education movement? Why or why not?

Creative Commons ought to have a completely different section of works for OER or get out of the picture. Licensing OER should not be complicated or available on multiple levels. It is time for us to work together on this issue. If you are going to submit work to OER, submit it freely – knowing it will be modified, remixed and redistributed. The only limitation should be that your work cannot be copied by someone else. Modify it or don’t mess with it. Remix it or don’t mess with it. Redistribute it…………………you get the point. Back to my belief that localization has to happen for any class, you cannot simply copy someone else’s work for your own class anyway - if you know anything about teaching. I think this deals with the NC issue. Anyone who is going to use OER to create a commercially offered class better modify it and/or remix it in order to redistribute it. It’s about letting go of what you place in the OER domain. I see it like an offshoot of OSS. There is a certain hierarchy, global contribution that builds upon the original work, flaming when necessary, and the ability to create an income around the work. "Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate.''

I have pondered over this mess for weeks, thinking of all kinds of ways to do it. But in the end it is just simple. The readings had me running to the pool of public domain. All of the other levels of protection were about selfishly holding on. OER is about giving something up for the betterment of all. That does not mean you have to give up all that you are and all that you have created, but if everyone just gave a little to OER, think how it would grow. It simply means contribute a little and let the global community build on it until it is a lot, until it is miraculous. The hard work of this global community is for free use – not for commercial use. I believe that income can be created around this copyleft mentality of mine, just like OSS has found a way. Pondering these questions from the perspective of the giver (the creator of content) and the taker (who would take and make money from) is what makes the questions difficult. If we think about OER from the perspective of the user – the person who wants to learn, the answer is simple: free to modify, remix, or redistribute. That is it.

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