With appropriate licensing, OER can have a significant impact on teaching and learning. Teachers using OER are able to find free materials appropriately licensed and then choose materials from various sources to meet the needs of their students. In some cases, teachers may wish to change the OER to create a new resource and share that resources with others. Students can also create OER to share with their peers. When using OER, states, districts, schools, educators, and students need to have a basic understanding of the copyright and licensing laws.
Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that offers free copyright licenses to facilitate sharing and use of teacher-created work, has six main licenses so that reuse, revision, and redistribution rules are defined at the outset. The six options (with their corresponding symbols) are listed in the following table:
|Attribution: “lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered.”|
|Attribution ShareAlike: “lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms….All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.”|
|Attribution No Derivatives: “allows for redistribution, commercial and non- commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.”|
|Attribution Non-Commercial: “lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work, and although their new works must acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.”|
|Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike: “lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.”|
|Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives: “is the most restrictive…, allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.”|