The vast majority of LRE content is provided under a Creative Commons license, an internationally recognised scheme that helps define the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright (all rights reserved) and the public domain (where no rights at all are reserved). The descriptions of the Creative Commons licenses are easy to understand. There are also tutorials and examples of how the licenses can be applied to different types of content, including some useful comics that can be used with pupils.
It is important to read the copyright information on LRE resources/assets carefully. For example, the copyright information will explain whether you are allowed to adapt or modify LRE content. Some resources/assets, for example, might stipulate “No Derivative Works”; in other words, they allow users to distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of the work, but not derivative works based upon it.
Check out the Creative Commons web site so that you understand what the various licenses mean.
We recommend different licenses for learning content and its metadata (i.e., the descriptions of this content):
Licensing Learning Content
If you plan to use open content to maximize reuse of learning resources, we recommend that you opt for a Creative Commons Attribution license. In the context of the LRE, other types of Creative Commons’ licenses have been less effective in promoting reuse. Creative Commons NoDerivs prevents derivative works including translations. Creative Commons NonCommercial limits the use of resources by private organisations engaged in education-related activities. Creative Commons ShareAlike potentially prevents remixing with content with other kinds of licenses.
Metadata has a lifecycle that involves the combination of multiple metadata streams. Proper licensing of metadata is key to allow for this combination. For example, adopting a license such as Creative Commons Attribution poses a problem. In practice, keeping track of attribution of metadata is cumbersome when, for example, metadata includes folksonomies. Therefore licenses such as CC-0 or PDDL are highly recommended.