Once again, I found it time to bring up the Creative Commons movement. As a former educator, turned consultant, turned district director, the need for content for use by students continues to increase. With students involved in online projects, graduation projections, and other career related projects, our students continue to need content they can consume, remix, build upon, and create. My question, then, is why do we continue to put arbitrary dates and times when this content stays under Copyright Laws? Does a company like Disney seriously need the life of the author plus 90 years? Is anyone really buying any Steamboat Willie cartoons? The entire fact that Disney steals storylines (Cinderella, Hunchback, Mulan, Pocahontas) and then does not share just makes me chuckle.
So as educators, what can we do? We want our students to consume content, build their own understanding, and then redistribute that content to help others learn. Copyright blocks us from doing that though. So again, I encourage you to move toward Creative Commons. Creative Commons, simply, seeks to provide an alternative licensing structure to the very strict Copyright licensing structure. To sum up the Creative Commons licenses:
- CC Attribution–users can do what they want with the content (remix, sell it, mash it up, etc), but they must cite where they received the information
- CC Non-Commercial–users can do what they want, except sell it
- CC No Derivatives–users can use it as is, but cannot modify the content
The rest of the Creative Commons licenses combine those in some way, but you can see that these licenses provide a great wealth of content for users. On the Creative Commons website (http://creativecommons.org/) you can search by different medium (pictures, music, video, etc) to find content under these licenses. Definitely a great place to visit, and a great source for our students. I, for one, would feel much better about the future of ideas in knowing that people can still make a profit from their work (Copyright), but could also share their content to allow others to build upon it (Creative Commons). I definitely support both!