Whether you’ve briefly time warped back to the 1980s and are sitting in a moment of Hills Street Blues nostalgia, or you have no idea there is a backstory to this seemingly innocuous phrase, brace yourself for an abrupt segue.
Sharing is caring — or is it?
As educators, we can find ourselves overwhelmed and challenged when using the Web to curate a dynamic and engaging kete of teaching and learning resources for our students. With our world full of ubiquitous connectivity, mobile-device overload, and social media excess, sharing and reusing other people’s content has become a regular part of our daily digital diet.
We are overloaded with content, which, upon first glance, appears to have the potential to share, reuse, and repurpose culminating in us cutting, pasting, and screenshotting other people’s creations to curate and make resources that support our students learning. Add into the mix the undeniable fact that most readers will agree to always being time poor! Checking for a statement that gives permission to reuse an image or resource or scrolling down to the bottom of a webpage to check the details of a website’s copyright statement, can fall by the wayside as meeting the immediate needs of our learners takes priority. Unfortunately, the consequences for using other people’s content — even just a single photo when the creator has not given permission for reuse — can be expensive and involve a whole lot of legal headaches.
Creative Commons licenses and websites that curate openly licensed content offer
all educators — teachers and librarians — the perfect opportunity to role model and bring to life best-practice examples of how to ethically and legally use, reuse, and share digital content created by others.
In this blog post, we’ll mainly focus on finding and reusing photos for teachers, librarians, and students to reuse in their work, resources, and communications.
A picture says a thousand words — for free
All Unsplash photos are shared CC 0, which means the creators of the photos have chosen to give up their copyright (anywhere in the world) and their photo is now gifted to society for any sort of reuse — even commercially. How generous is that!
Just like we say “thanks” when given something because it’s good manners, we give attribution as an internationally recognised way of simply saying “thanks” to the creator of the resource we’re reusing. Attribution is you saying: who made what you’re reusing, providing a link to them and their work, and stating what Creative Commons licence it’s offered under. Even though it’s not strictly legally required to give attribution when using something with a CC0 mark, it is best practice, and everyone likes people with good manners!
Unsplash makes things super simple and does the attribution for you. As soon as you download an image, an attribution statement appears for you to copy then paste under the image you’re reusing. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
Sign up to Unsplash and receive a weekly email of incredible eye candy to liven up your slides, school newsletter or projects.
Sign up to avoid the need to prove your human-ness each time you want to reuse something, and you’ll also receive a weekly email with a selection of beautiful new offerings.
“Tens of billions of photos and 2 million groups” — Flickr
Flickr is a website that hosts amateur and professional photos and videos.
This site presents great opportunities for students to share their work in conjunction with learning about using and contributing to the commons of free and legally reusable content generated globally. This is a fantastic opportunity to embed citizen-generated content into a digital-citizenship programme and could be part of an offering from your school library that holistically supports teachers, students, and whānau alike.
Much of Flickr’s content is licensed with a Creative Commons license, which means the person who created the photo or video is letting you reuse it, with certain conditions. Let’s look at this a little closer.
Collaboration rules! Where Creative Commons fits in
Creative Commons licenses let you tell others that you’re happy to share what you’ve created, and the way in which you’re happy for your work to be reused.
Creative Commons licences work on a Some Rights Reserved philosophy — offering creators a spectrum of choices between retaining all rights and relinquishing all rights (public domain), whereas Copyright works on an All Rights Reserved approach used by owners to indicate that they reserve all of the rights granted to them under the law. (Creative Commons, 2018)
When using Flickr, you will see a variety of usage statements. Don’t panic if these are unfamiliar and look like some secret and mysterious code — there’s a simple way of breaking them down to figure out what they mean.
Creative Commons Licenses are made up of four elements, and when these elements are combined there are six possible licences. Look at the elements below and read what they allow. Once you’ve done this, you’re well on your way to understanding the next Creative Commons licence you see!
The four license elements (from the Creative Commons website):
(For those using screen readers, click here and move to License Elements. You will need to come back to this page to continue.)
The six Creative Commons licenses:
(For those using screen readers, click here and move to The Licenses. You will need to come back to this page to continue.)
Check your learning
The Alice in Videoland photo above is licensed:
CC BY-SA 3.0
Let’s break this down:
CC = Creative Commons
BY = If you reuse this photo you need to give attribution to who created the photo.
SA = If you reuse this photo you need to share what you make with the same license
3.0 = This is the version of the Creative Commons license.
So, translated CC BY-SA 3.0 means:
If I reuse this Alice in wonderland photo, I need to say who created it and share anything I make using it with the same Creative Commons attribution / sharealike license.
Extra for experts
When you find digital resources that a creator has given permission for reuse, an easy way to remember how to give attribution is with the mnemonic TASL.
Some facts about copyright and Creative Commons licenses
Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand resources
- Creative Commons Kiwi (above)
A fun and fast five-minute run through Creative Commons thinking and application.
- Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand resources
- Creative Commons License Poster
Great to have on your classroom, studio, library and staff room walls, also near computers and photocopiers.
Free to Mix
A great short information guide to using and remixing other people’s content, aimed at high school students and perfect for ALL teachers. Schools could include this in the student handbook or homework diary.
You’ve made it to the end of this post, and, hopefully, are feeling better resourced to reuse digital images and content with the suggestions provided.
This is part one of a series I hope to run this year in the lead up to uLearn. We want to support educators across Aotearoa to produce and share content at uLearn that others can learn from and build upon — and is legally sourced.
CORE Education is a passionate supporter of Creative Commons. We have staff who have recently completed the inaugural international Creative Commons Certificate programme, and are ready to support schools, kura or Kāhui Ako to create board-approved Creative Commons policies and understand how to reuse information and created openly licensed education resources.
We believe that publicly-funded research and resources should be available to the public that help fund them, and work to enable and empower educators to find and create openly-licensed content to support their learners and which others can benefit and build on.
If you would like to explore anything related to this blog, please email the author.
Extra, extra for experts (extra resources)
- Creative Commons Australia
- Creative Commons platforms — “Over 1 billion CC-licensed works exist across millions of websites. The majority are hosted on content platforms that provide CC license options for their users”.
- Flickr CC Attribution helper
- Guide to open licensing
- What is Creative Commons?
- A slide deck made for the Creative Commons Certificate course:
What is Creative Commons ? – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires