OpenFiction [Blog]

CED Report

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on November 4, 2009

The Committee for Economic Development, a non-profit, non-partisan business led public policy organization (their description), has issued a really excellent report on openness in higher education.  It addresses an exhaustive array of facets to openness in the higher education context including OER, Open Access, and openness in administration and certification. The report is a great opportunity to understand the breadth of the open landscape as it stands today.

There are a few factual errors regarding OpenCourseWare that ought to be noted.  On page 18, the report vastly undercounts the number of OCW courses available through the Consortium at 5,000, when the most recent self-reported figures from the membership are closer to 13,000.

More concerning is the characterization of MIT OpenCourseWare’s agreement with Elsevier, which on page 28 is described as:

…a more straightforward and operationally simple definition of fair use so as to ease rights clearance for MIT’s OCW; Elsevier now provides blanket clearance for up to three tables and 100 words per article for thousands of Elsevier’s articles.

Our agreement with Elsevier governs our use of their materials under our open CC license and in no way defines or limits our recourse to fair use with respect to Elsevier’s or any other content owners materials.  Were we to use materials employing a fair use approach, they would have to appear on our site with all rights reserved.  Elsevier has agreed to allow OCW to publish materials under our CC By-NC-SA 3.0 license, which makes the materials available for downstream reuse.  It’s a very important distinction.

Important ruling regarding open licenses

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on August 14, 2008

An important ruling supporting the validity of open source licenses has come out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  It basically says that violating the terms of an open license is copyright infringement.  This is good news for the open source/open content community.  See Larry Lessig’s post for more and a link to the ruling.   The ruling mentions MIT OpenCourseWare and many other open source/content projects in describing the value of the licenses:

Open source licensing has become a widely used method of creative collaboration that serves to advance the arts and sciences in a manner and at a pace that few could have imagined just a few decades ago.  For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) uses a Creative Commons public license for an OpenCourseWare project that licenses all 1800 MIT courses.  Other public licenses support the GNU/Linux operating system, the Perl programming language, the Apache web server programs, the Firefox web browser, and a collaborative web-based encyclopedia called Wikipedia.  Creative Commons notes that, by some estimates, there are close to 100,000,000 works licensed under various Creative Commons licenses.  The Wikimedia Foundation, another of the amici curiae, estimates that the Wikipedia website has more than 75,000 active contributors working on some 9,000,000 articles in more than 250 languages.