Freely and Openly Available
Protecting your decision and ability to share the works and tools you create is an integral part of developing within the world of open, and the foundation of and for Creative Commons. At BCcampus, as part of our commitment to open practices and inclusion in the global open community, the open educational resources (OER) we create, adopt, and adapt are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY). This ensures their ability to be reused, improved, and remixed to continue to provide value for our partners and collaborators around the world as well as the learning community of British Columbia.
Publishing your work under a Creative Commons licence allows you to retain the copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; make derivative works; and make commercial use of the work, as long as they attribute the original work to you, the copyright holder.
Copyright, Open Licences and the Public Domain
Contrary to what some may think, openly licensed resources are copyrighted. In fact, an open licence would not be required if copyright were not in place. In Canada copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author. Prior to December 30, 2022, copyright ended 50 years after an author died.
Copyright affects how long a Creative Commons (open copyright) licence remains in place. Once copyright expires, this licence ends.
Works that are no longer protected by copyright enter the public domain and are available to everyone without restrictions. The recent change to Canadian copyright law does not affect works moved to the public domain before December 30, 2022.
The 5 Rs of Openness
According to David Wiley, Education Fellow at Creative Commons and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, the terms “open content” and “open educational resources” describe any copyrightable work (traditionally excluding software, which is described by other terms like “open-source”) that is licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities:
- Retain: the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
- Reuse: the right to use the content in a wide range of ways, e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video
- Revise: the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself, e.g., translate the content into another language
- Remix: the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new, e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup
- Redistribute: the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others, e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend
Rights and Responsibilities
As the creator of open resources, you are responsible for ensuring that none of the materials in your resource infringe upon – or induce infringement upon – any third-party copyrights. There are a number of guides and resources available, such as the BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide, to help you comply with the legal requirements, and most institutions in B.C. have an intellectual property/copyright expert available.