Licensing use of digital resources

Lorcan 1 min read

Constant readers – there are a few 😉 – will have noticed several references to outputs from the Eduserv Foundation of late, as well as links to their blog, eFoundations. They are producing a nice body of work.
They have just released a new report “Snapshot study on the use of open content licences in the UK cultural heritage sector” [PDF].

Simply placing digital resources on a website, without any licensing information or terms and conditions, does not necessarily make these resources truly accessible to users of the resource. From the standpoint of the public, this content must be assumed to be fully covered by copyright and therefore permission from the rightsholder needed for use and re-use of the resource (subject to possible fair dealing defences). An image of a painting available on a museum’s website would not without a licence come with permission to place that image on your own website, use it in a presentation, or place it in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). …

… Open content licensing is a way of generally granting a wide range of permission in copyright for use and re-use of the work via a copyright licence, whilst retaining a relatively small set of rights. As mentioned above, copyright operates so that permission is needed for any use except for a limited number of cases. In contrast, open content licensing reverses this default and grants permission for a very wide range of uses but asks that users seek permission only in a limited number cases – often known as a ‘some rights reserved’ model. This style of licensing, like any other, can only be used on works by someone who owns the rights over the work or otherwise has permission to do so. [“Snapshot study on the use of open content licences in the UK cultural heritage sectorPDF.]

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