As OERTIG and the discussion about the oer hackday kicks off on the oer-discuss list, here’s a quick note about one small thing that might be of interest to anyone developing/hacking oer discovery tools – it’s probably too minor to get into at the hackday but – you should look at how the tool handles public domain materials.
An aside during a Learning Registry discussion mentioned the interaction between public domain [rights] and creative commons licensing (I think it was Steve Midgley and Nathan Yargler) – the LR specification needs to deal with public domain materials as much of the content produced by the US Federal government is in the public domain. In a UKOER context his got me thinking about how discovery services deal with the public domain. This isn’t something that crops up a lot at the minute as it’s actually quite hard to put stuff into the public domain but it is something which is an issue and will crop up eventually.
As part of Scott Wilson’s work on the Ensemble demonstrator and our more general CETIS support for UKOER we’ve provided some advice about handling licence info in feeds so that discovery services can easily use it to support additional features.
I had a brief chat with the OER IPR Support folk yesterday to help my understanding of public domain (rights) and licensing and from a category purist’s point of view it’s going to be a bit of a mess – but one with a hack. The following is though only my understanding and IANAL.
the basic issue is -there’s lots of good tools offer support for restricting your search to CC-licensed content but how do they handle Public Domain stuff?
- Creative Commons is a license the owner can apply to copyrighted works to extended permissions around their use.
- Public domain is a rights status. As I understand it public domain stuff cannot be licensed as it no longer has an ‘owner’.
A complication – CC0 is a way of of licensing content that you own which is still in copyright to permit use as if it were in the public domain. It does not put something into the public domain. [Update: CC0 is waiver rather than a license , but one that defaults to the most permissive license if waiver doesn’t apply – I have no idea if a waiver is legally a license or a change in rights status]
Thankfully Creative Commons have come up with one way to address this issue- the Public Domain Mark.
Public Domain Mark uses this form of description <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/”>
Technically I have to say it’s a hack (PD is rights not license and I don’t think you can ‘license’ PD), but rel=”license” or the equivalent is where someone will look for this information and given how badly dc: rights and dc: license are used i don’t think anyone has much justification for complaining about it too much…
The challenge for developers is when they support searches that support usage rights don’t forget to code in CC0 and Public Domain.