[cc-education] Perfection?

David Wiley david.wiley at usu.edu
Mon Jul 7 16:29:49 EDT 2003

Downes, Stephen wrote:

>My opinion is that we need resolution of the issues raised in the original
>discussion of the concept on the Creative Commons website:
>http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/3633 The only draft I am aware of
>appears on this page.
The current draft of the cc.edu option was posted on this listserv on 
June 19 and is available from the listserv archives at 

> Some significant objections and concerns were posted
>by several writers, including myself. 
>Specific concerns included:
>- the suggestion that CC already granted the necessary rights (Schwartz,
>Carver) - Brown responds, "Our current set of license options does not allow
>a licensor to permit educational uses per se." Wiley responds: the education
>rights would be a subset of the standard CC rights.
I think this is related closely to the next concern.

>- the suggestion that educational use should be de facto part of the CC
>project (Ray, Gerv). Ray: "I'd vote to make educational use part of all
>licenses rather than something that needs to be explicitly granted."
I think this shows a misunderstanding of the licenses. Unless a type of 
activity is specifically prohibited (like the noncommercial clause 
allows one to do) educational use is acceptable under the standard cc 
licenses. The point of an educational use license is to allow people to 
license material for *only* educational uses. In other words, the point 
of cc.edu is to allow people to reserve more rights than with the 
standard cc licenses, but still not all rights.

>- non-commercial use is essentially the same thing as educational use
There are several very large categories of noncommercial use which are 
not educational; research and governmental use seem like two of the 

>- CC.Edu favoring one type of educational use (Wiley, Downes). As Wiley
>writes, "this license would make it impossible for anyone to "do education"
>except for universities and other formal organizations."
Correct. If you define "informal educational use" as anytime someone 
uses something and learns from it, then almost any use is educational, 
and there would be very little distinction between the noncommercial use 
option and an "informal educational use option". At first I shared this 
concern about wanting to support informal uses, but realized that the 
noncommercial options covers this. And I believe that people who were 
previously willing to use the noncommercial clause will continue to do so.

However, I also know that there are people (many of whom are my 
colleagues) who would make materials available for educational use, but 
not governement or military uses. In other words, there are materials in 
existence that could be freely supporting learning, but currently are 
not (within the cc infrastructure). By providing a specifically 
educational use only license, we will expand the amount of content 
available for educational use.

As for the formal versus informal issue, I believe we have done a better 
job in the current draft than others have previously. Many educational 
use licenses are limited to employees of institutions acting in their 
formal capacity. Under the wording of the current cc.edu draft, students 
in informal study groups outside of class will be able to use materials, 
for example.

>- the educational use license would be used for commercial purposes
>(Pormann): "that is really just the bait to hook you into viewing ads, or
>buying consulting services, or whatever."
I don't really have a response to this "concern." I guess I don't really 
understand it. I think the concern is that free content might be given 
as a way to get people to see ads? In other words, it might work like 
TV. I have no problem with that personally. I would like to understand 
better why this is a problem.

>- It creates an uneven balance between commercial and non-commercial
>services (Pormann): "Thus a big company could advertise that they have their
>proprietary content *AND* the CC-enabled content. The CC-author could only
>post CC-enabled content. Hardly seems fair?"

>The primary benefit is described as follows:
>- "this license option might attract copyright holders who wouldn't
>otherwise consider CC." (Hallman)
>An alternative, the CC anti-license, "which forbids any educational
>classroom use" was proposed by Hove.
Again, this misses the point of the licenses as described above, and 
does not gain us entre to the set of works available for educational use 
only (e.g., not governmental use).

>In view of these comments, the following would have been (and, in my view,
>still is) an appropriate course of action:
>1. Discussion, debate, and decision on whether there ought to be a CC.Edu
>license. Several of the objections were directed at this level. Some
>responses were offered. It is not clear on what grounds the decision to
>proceed was made.
I would appreciate your thoughts on my responses above. Specifically, I 
would like to know of scenarios in which the cc.edu license would lead 
to a decrease of materials available to support education, as that is 
the primary goal here. If such scenarios exist, then I believe we should 
take a hard look at the question of "to cc.edu, or not to cc.edu". More 
on this below.

>2. Even given whether such use ought to be described, the significant
>question of whether an 'education' subuse can be identified needs to be
>addressed. This is especially the case with the current draft, where
>'educational' really refers to traditional institutions.
I would appreciate your comments re: my brief arguments above.

>3. Finally, the potential use - or abuse - of educational licensing by
>commercial publishers is a concern. Educational use typically comes with
>strings attached, either in terms of 'bundling' with commercial content,
>'no-compete' clauses or privileged repositories, or tracking and reporting,
>as required, for example, under the U.S. TEACH Act.
Could you provide a specific scenario of bundling free educational 
content with commercial content? On the surface, this seems to be 
oxymoronic. If I understand what you are saying about bundling, one 
would be required to pay for commercial content before getting access to 
free content. If that's so, then that's not free content. Either way, 
there's certainly no mechanism for expressing these kinds of bundling 
rights reservations in the cc infrastructure. Technically it is not even 
be possible to license content through cc AND apply terms other than 
attribution, noncommercial, no derivative works, and share alike 
(hopefully education soon!). I don't think bundling is so much of an 
issue since, according to the cc baseline rights and restrictions,


Every license allows licensees, provided they live up to your conditions,

    * to copy the work
    * to distribute it
    * to display or perform it publicly
    * to make digital public performances of it (e.g., webcasting)
    * to shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy

Every license

    * applies worldwide
    * lasts for the duration of the work's copyright
    * is not revocable


So even if they were bundled, the first person to pay would have rights 
to distribute, etc. This might call for a new bit of language in the 
option which states that the cc.edu is the entire and complete statement 
of rights reserved and granted with regard to the content.

Also, I'm not sure why you ref the TEACH act and tracking and reporting 
requirements. These would apply to copyrighted content used in 
educational ways without express permissions. A cc.edu licensing would 
completely relieve this requirement, since the copyright holder has 
chosen to explicitly permit educational uses. I may be missing your 
point, but I think your argument argues against you. =)

>These considerations - which in my view are not balanced against the
>inducement to attract copyright holders to license content - lead me to
>argue against an education-specific instance of Creative Commons.
Obviously I disagree, but I'll wait for your next response.

>In my view, a CC.Edu license would hinder the development of free content
>because the requirements of commercial publishers would be 'built in' to the
>system of distributing free content, creating an overhead that all must bear
>in order to satisfy the needs of the few.
What requirements are you talking about? DRM? Once content is cc.edu'ed, 
and rights to distribute, etc., are granted for the duration of the 
work's copyright, it need only be posted on a webpage. Again, I don't 
follow you here.

>No formal mechanism for reaching a resolution of this (or any) decision
>(that I am aware of) has been proposed. I think that additional
>participation in these discussions would require that some framework for
>open and democratic decision making would be essential.
That's the purpose of the listserv -- to allow discussion and facilitate 
reaching a resolution on the issues. If by formal mechanism you mean 
Roberts' Rules of Order and voting, etc., then you're correct. I 
certainly hope we don't reach the point where such a schism exists that 
such a thing, i.e. formal votes where dissenting voices are silencesd by 
the majority, is necessary. I know the Sampling project has not needed 
one. Our goal is to reach consensus through discussion. If we're unable 
to help that happen, we may well explore a more formal option.

Looking forward to your thoughts,

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