X Close

Copyright Queries

Home

Menu

Open Education and related IPR issues: Guest post from the UCL Open Education project

Chris JHolland14 December 2018

In August this year we introduced UCL’s Open Education (OE) initiative through the UCL Open Access blog (which you can read here) the article provides an overview of what Open Education is, including benefits, and information about what UCL is doing.

When publishing open educational resources it is essential to consider Intellectual Property issues, such as copyright, open licensing and third-party content.

Intellectual property (IP) and copyright

When an OER is created at UCL, whether by a staff member or student, it remains the property of that creator. This also means that creator owns the copyright in that work.

(Open) licences

A licence provides information to a user about how a resource can be used, and is usually prescribed by the copyright owner.

There are a variety of licences, and they express different types of use of a resource. For example, one licence may express that a resource can be reused as long as the creator/owner is credited for their work, another licence may express that a resource can be reused as long as it is not modified, and so on. There can be combinations of different uses.

To ensure that OER remain open and reusable, UCL encourages the use of open licences.

Creative Commons (CC) is an organisation which provides open licences which can be freely applied; this table provides an overview of the different licences CC provides, and what uses each prescribes.

 

Copied image “Creative Commons licences” by Foter, which is licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

 

The Creative Commons website also offers a tool to make the selection of an open licence easier.

Once the desired licence has been selected, e.g. CC BY-NC, this information needs to be noted somewhere on the resource (ideally on the front page) to indicate to the user how they are allowed to reuse that OER. A hyperlink to the licence information can be useful.

A good example would be: “This work by [author’s name] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.”

UCL’s licence to use educational materials created by UCL staff

Although UCL waives its right to ownership of copyright in research outputs and teaching materials created by UCL staff, it does claim a wide-ranging licence to re-use those materials, including re-use for OER purposes. The details are in the UCL IPR Policy and a link to the updated UCL IPR policy will be added when it is available on the website.

Educational materials created by UCL students

Students generally own the copyright in their own material and UCL requires permission or a licence from the individual student in order to re-use their work.

Third-party content

Third-party content is content that is licensed or owned by another person or organisation other than yourself. The most common type of third-party content related to OER are images and quotations.

You can re/use third-party content in your OER as long as:

  • you have obtained permission to do so,
  • it is covered by a statutory exception and passes the Fair Dealing test, or
  • there is a licence which allows for the reuse of that work.

Where the licence and re/use information for an OER is not explicitly stated, you must obtain clarification and permission from the creator/owner of the teaching content before you use it. It is your responsibility to retain permission information; the Open Education team and UCL Copyright Support Officer can provide support information.

Attribution and citation

If you are reusing third-party content, you are required to attribute it or provide a citation.

An example of an attribution may be: “Copied image “Creative Commons licences” by Foter, is licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence.

We encourage the citation of OER and you can find information about correct citations here:

 

Support

If you require support or advice about anything related to OER and IPR, please contact the Open Education team or UCL Copyright Support Officer; we are here to help!

 

 

 

Quotations in a PhD thesis

Chris JHolland18 May 2018

Recently we were asked about quotations in a PhD thesis which was about to be submitted for posting in Discovery, UCL’s open access repository. The student had included a small number of images from published papers by other authors (third party material).

Very sensibly the student had made an initial attempt to seek permission by contacting the publisher in each case but had received no response and was concerned about what to do next. Was permission essential to include these particular images? Again, a sensible question.

Further investigation showed that one of the source articles had in fact been published under a Creative Commons licence (as it happened, the most generous “CC BY” licence). In that particular case it would be fine to reproduce the image without seeking permission but only if one fulfilled the terms of the CC licence in some reasonable manner.

In our example the student had not realised the significance of the licence so had not initially taken steps to fulfill all its terms, such as identifying the licence and linking back to the Creative Commons website. So, ironically, even though the student was licensed to reuse the image, if they had proceeded without fulfilling the terms, there was the potential for copyright infringement.

Post graduate students will typically have an impressive grasp of detail in their chosen field but not necessarily when it comes to copyright and licensing issues. This example illustrates the importance of having at least a broad awareness of copyright when you are making your work available online and including quotations from third party material. Fortunately in this case the student was wise enough to seek advice on the potential issues.

Psychometric scales, copyright protection and translation

Chris JHolland17 November 2017

A UCL researcher recently asked a series of questions about obtaining copyright permission to reproduce a published psychometric scale in the researcher’s own paper:

Q. Would the scale itself be protected by copyright?

A. Yes, if it is the original creation of the author(s) it will benefit from copyright protection, in which case permission is required to reuse it lawfully.

Q. What are the copyright implications of translating the scale into another language in order to apply it in a different cultural context?

A. Translation is a type of “adaptation” which is one of the activities restricted by copyright law – Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Section 16(1)(e)

Therefore you do need permission if you want to publish a translation of someone’s work or make it available to the public etc. Interestingly your translation will also benefit from separate copyright protection as long as it has been made with permisssion from the owner of copyright in the original work.

Q. Can I then publish my paper under a Creative Commons licence (CC licence)?

A. By all means, as long as you are happy for people to reuse  your work freely under the terms of the chosen CC licence. It is impoortant to underline that you cannot licence the reuse of someone else’s work without their permission. Therefore you must include separate copyright information on any quotations of other people’s work, along with the usual acknowledgements of author and source,  to make it clear that it is not covered by the CC licence you are applying to your own work. This would also apply to the psychometric scale. It is important to note that having made your work available under a Creative Commons licence you cannot change your mind and withdraw the licence from people who are already making use of it.

 

Using YouTube videos for teaching

Chris JHolland2 February 2017

I was recently asked to clarify the copyright considerations when reusing videos from YouTube for teaching. There are a number of issues to examine:

  • Anyone can upload a YouTube video, but does that person own the copyright? We can’t assume they do and we should consider this.
  • Maybe the person who posted the video does own the copyright, but have they included any other copyright protected works (music, recent artworks etc.). Does it look as though it is infringing?
  • Many YouTube videos have a Creative Commons licence attached which allows reuse in many contexts. So once we have clambered over the initial hurdle of copyright ownership, any videos with a CC licence are potentially reusable for teaching purposes as long as we adhere to the licence terms.
  • YouTube has its  own detailed terms of service which appear to restrict the user to “personal, non-commercial” use. On the face of it this clashes with the rights granted by CC licences.
  • On the other hand YouTube clearly recognises that copyright is owned by the author of the video, so perhaps we can assume that the CC licence chosen by the author  overrides the general YouTube terms of service?

The “Share alike” Creative Commons Licence

Chris JHolland27 August 2015

In an interesting case from the USA, a photographer, Art Dragulis launched an action for copyright infringement against the Kappa Map Group because he objected to the fact that they had reproduced his photograph of a rural scene on the cover of a commercial publication. Kappa had not requested his permission to do that and naturally one would usually require the permission of the copyright holder to re-use their work.

It transpired however that Mr Dragulis had posted the photograph on Flickr in 2008. In doing so he had chosen to make the photograph available under the Creative Commons “CC-BY-SA 2.00” licence. In contrast to some CC licences which include the “NC” stipulation, the CC-BY-SA licence does permit commercial re-use of the work (in this case, the photograph).

The court held that Kappa were justified in using the photograph for the cover of their published atlas, given that they had credited Mr Dragulis as the creator of the work and also included the correct licence information. In doing so they had fulfilled the CC licence requirements.

The court also discussed the “Share alike” requirement: Under the CC scheme only “derivative works” would need to be made available on the same terms (that is free of charge) under the “SA” licence. Kappa had presenting the photograph unmodified as part of a “collection” of copyright works. The only change they had made was some minimal cropping of the photograph which did not make it a derivative work. Therefore Kappa were entitled to reproduce the photograph and also charge for their atlas.

The case illustrates the importance of being careful in your choice of licence, since the photographer could have selected an “NC” licence. There are full reports by Techdirt and the 1709 Blog.

 

 

Re-usable images and Europeana

Chris JHolland19 June 2015

A recent enquiry about sources for historical photographs of London which could legitimatelybe re-used for a  non-commercial project led me to look at the Europeana website. For anyone not familiar with Europeana already, this is an ambitious EU project to digitise European culture and make it available. The searchable database now contains many re-usable images, often covered by a Creative Commons Licence. 

UCL has also contributed material, notably through the Europeana Travel Project, in the form of historical images from the Library of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).  

Another excellent website when searching for re-usable images is the University of Nottingham Xpert database.