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Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors

ccncnd

Various talented folks and communities (e.g., the Open Knowledge Foundation and QuestionCopyright.org) believe Creative Commons should retire its NC ND clauses.  Students for Free Culture argue the NC clause is “completely antithetical to free culture (it retains a commercial monopoly on the work).”   Timothy Vollmer  asserts the NC ND clauses should be renamed ““Commercial Rights Reserved” because this license fails to “provide for all of [these] freedoms:

  • “the freedom to use the work and enjoy the benefits of using it
  • the freedom to study the work and to apply knowledge acquired from it
  • the freedom to make and redistribute copies, in whole or in part, of the information or expression
  • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works”

Clearly, adopting an NC or ND clause is less free than adopting a CC 3.0 SA license, which permits, for example, users to benefit commercially or produce derivative works.  However, this doesn’t mean a CC 3.0 NC ND is not a free license.  In fact, rather than retiring the CC 3.0 NC ND, I think Creative Commons should affirm these clauses for academics.  There are a good many situations where CC 3.0 NC ND is an ideal license.

For example, Writing Commons, the Open Education Resource I’m developing with help from our Editorial Board and Review Editors, uses the CC 3.0 NC ND license.  Each day users from around the world access the site and use it to help with their academic writing.  Since February of this year, in fact, 137,631 unique users or 157,739 users have benefitted from this site.  As the content creator of the core of the book–that is the 320 essays I wrote when the book was published by Longman/Pearson–I chose the CC ND license because I didn’t want others to commercially benefit from my work.  I also didn’t want to allow derivative works without a conversation.  After all, if I’d chosen CC 3.0 NC and allowed derivative works, others could take the work and remix it without even mentioning the project to me.  Sure, they’d have to cite me but so what?  In contrast, with NC ND I still own copyright and I suppose if someone wants to use these essays for a derivative work I can still permit that after a discussion with them–or not.

Sure if my rhetorical situation were different, if I were just starting a new textbook and I wanted to crowdsource it, I can imagine choosing CC 3.0 NC SA.  However, for academics like me who have spent countless hours developing a project, I think it’s understandable that we want to retain some control over our work even if we release it to the Commons.  For example, as I’ve written elsewhere, I’d fear that if I didn’t use NC ND the project could be swallowed whole by a for profit business like Flat World Knowledge or nonprofit business like the California Digital Library.

Earlier, I argued that academics should considering publishing their pedagogical resources.  In my opinion, academics should self publish but if they don’t want to mount a platform, then they should consider a project like Writing Commons or MIT’s Connexions–i.e., OER resources that employ CC 3.0 NC ND.

ncndIn summary, from my perspective as a content creator who has independently developed a major work, the CC 3.0 NC ND is not only a valid license, it’s the best license.

9 comments on “Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors

  1. Pingback: Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors | Open Knowledge | Scoop.it

  2. Doug Holton
    December 18, 2012

    “After all, if I’d chosen CC 3.0 NC and allowed derivative works, others could take the work and remix it without even mentioning the project to me. Sure, they’d have to cite me but so what?”

    It sounds like what you really want might be NC SA (share alike), not NC ND (no derivatives). If they have to share any derivative work or remixes they make, you (and others) will still have access to them. If someone did for example improve upon part of your work, you can even re-incorporate the improvements back in your original work if you like. With ND though, people can’t do things like just incorporate one chapter, for example, in their own materials, or edit part of a page to improve it, or make a more simplified version of your resource (360 pages seems like 350 more than most students learning writing would ever read).

    I haven’t really thought much about the no-derivatives option before though – I had assumed it was meant more for things like photos and artwork – where the ‘whole’ of the work is important.

    • joemoxley
      December 19, 2012

      Thanks, Doug.

      I disagree somewhat with your interpretation here: “With ND though, people can’t do things like just incorporate one chapter, for example, in their own materials, or edit part of a page to improve it, or make a more simplified version of your resource (360 pages seems like 350 more than most students learning writing would ever read).” After all, at http://writingcommons.org, we put the copyright info on every page and we’ve cut the resource into tiny webparts.

      Incidentally, I hope I was clear in my post yesterday: I do value CC SA and I’m eager to use it under some circumstances, particularly when I’m crowdsourcing a document from the first draft.

  3. Geoff Cain
    December 18, 2012

    NC is very important – this may be the only license that will prevent bait & switch companies from locking down open textbooks. Lets keep this conversation going!

  4. Pingback: Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors | Open Educational Resources (OER) | Scoop.it

  5. Pingback: Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors | Open Education Resources | Scoop.it

  6. Pingback: Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND Is A Valid License for Academic Authors | ilene_scoops | Scoop.it

  7. Pingback: Creative Commons Licensing: Why and When? | Emerging Technologies Librarian

  8. Pingback: 3/18/12 is a pretty huge day @ Writing Commons thanks to the Duke MOOC! | Academe Blog

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2012 by in academic freedom, faculty, Service and tagged , .
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