Saturday, July 9, 2011

Creative Commons - let's make it easy

A lot of effort is put into preventing plagiarism both in schools and universities and there are some excellent intitiatives in this field. Often students simply don't realize where the borderline to plagiarism lies or think that a few choice sentences here and there won't do any harm. But many institutions have published guides and often clear, informative and often light-hearted guides to help students do the right thing.

However there is not the same interest in helping students to choose correctly when it comes to photos and films. Both teachers and students simply search for good photos on Google and then copy and paste into presentations and essays. Creative Commons licensing is now widespread and there are millions of photos, films, diagrams and texts that can be freely copied and even reworked. However very few institutions have a policy for the media use and Creative Commons licensing.

This is the subjetc of the following interview with Professor Lawrence Lessig, Harvard University, on EdTalks.. The main point is to make it as easy as possible to use open resources. If schools and universities have a clear policy on using CC material and there are clear guidelines for staff and students that will help enormously. However Lessig says that responsibility also lies with Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to make it easy to filter image searches so that you can quickly search for open resources. Today it's easy to search for photos and films but the main search engines make it impossible to choose the right ones. A simple search filter to click on wuld suffice.

Today it's easy to break copyright law and most of us do so unwittingly. Let's make it easy to follow the law and move the free material up front so people realize the wealth that is available. If someone wants their material locked away under copyright then let it remain hidden: If you share you're work will be used.

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