Creative Commons, Free Software Foundation and Wikimedia Foundation are working on to make the FSF’s GFDL and CC’s CC-By-SA compatible. This will mean that in future all the Wikimedia content (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, etc.), that are licensed under GFLD can be remixed with content using CC-By-SA. The Wikimedia Foundation’s Board made a resolution about this some days ago.
Because the volume of Wikimedia content is so huge – tens of millions of article and millions of media files – we may already assume that;
the most common license used with free/libre/open educational resources will be the CC-By-SA.
This is absolutely great news!
In LeMill we use the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. We have good reasons for this. These are:
- The license is human readable and internationally the most well known free/libre/open license among educators.
- It supports remixing and massive public collaborations.
- It offers a minimum protection for authors against possible rip-off of their content.
The issue of having or not the “share-alike” and the “non-commercial” restrictions in the free/libre/open education resources has been widely discussed online in different forums (See eg. David Wiley’s post about the topic and the comments following it.)
I believe that the Share-alike virus is protecting the author and the future authors (remixing) against possible rip-offs (see the reason 3). With the share-alike restriction the message is simple: you play according the rules of free/libre/open resources or you’ll drop the author an email and make her a business offer.
The fact that there isn’t restriction against commercial use will make the content more movable. It makes it possible to use the content in other web sites with different kind of “business models”. It also gives people the chance to make CD’s, DVD’s and other media out of the content and charge reasonable price to cover their working hours, reproduction and material costs. Without the non-commercial restriction teachers are also free to use the content without thinking is the fact that they are paid salary a commercial use.
In the LeMill community we are already waiting for the GFLD and CC-By-SA compatibility. For instance it will open the Wikimedia commons database of more than 2.2 million media files for the authors of LeMill content. Because the free havens of free/libre/open content are now becoming compatible and growing fast, maybe we should reconsider do we need “media file” hosting in LeMill at all?
This would be a logical move. Especially if we reflect all this to the core ideas behind LeMill:
- LeMill’s target group is school teachers and school children. The aim is to make authoring of learning resources easy for teachers. Also the resources made in LeMill should be pedagogically compelling and easy to use for children.
- LeMill emphasizes collaboration and communities. In LeMill we have many tools for teachers to create groups and start projects to generate content on some topic. This is part of the “hidden curriculum” for teacher training: LeMill should offer teachers the experience of learning by collaboration and co-creation, and this will have an effect on their teaching practice. When teachers are working online together, they will see the benefits of it and will guide their pupils to do the same.
- LeMill content is multi-lingual. In LeMill we have tools for teachers to translate content from one language to another. When you see a content in one language you can (the Wikipedia way) check the same content in other languages. This is very important among multi-lingual teachers and pupils
- LeMill user interface is multi-lingual. LeMill is designed so that the user interface is easy to translate. We now have 12 languages. Volunteers are providing all the time more user interface translations.
Our job with LeMill is not to be a “media repository” or to replicate something Wikimedia projects are already doing. Our aim is to expand the creation, remixing and use of free/libre/open resources to areas that are not yet using them.