Sharing is caring: how to share and mean it

When we make something, we usually want others to benefit from what we do. In the world of Latin learning, there are some very important gaps for students that free sharing can help with.

Teachers already share resources among themselves, understandably, to reduce their workload and widen their options at low cost. However, most of this material isn’t released under clear licence conditions – making it hard to know what an end user can do with it.

  • Can I share this content with someone else?
  • Can I publish it on a commercial website like Facebook or Twitter?
  • Can I add pictures and republish it?
  • Can I make audio or video with it? Can I share the audio?

Without a Creative Commons or similar licence, the answer to those questions is “no”, not unless the author gives you specific permission. But how do you find and contact the author, if that person is not in your network? Or worse:

  • What happens when the author retires?
  • What happens when the author dies?

In these cases, without a Creative Commons (etc) licence, the answer is “tough luck, you are not entitled to do anything with the content”; at least, not for another 70 years, when copyright expires. Even then, you need to know who the author was, and when they died, to prove the work is in the public domain. To all intents and purposes, the work is lost and unusable.

The answer is simple: Creative Commons licenses

The answer has been with us for years. Creative Commons licenses allow end users to understand their rights, and are the foundation of sites like Wikipedia. CC licences are always clear. They can allow the authors to make restrictions – like “no derivatives” and “no commercial use”. We would always urge that people use either share-alike licenses, which oblige everyone to share any derivative too, or simple accreditation licenses.

It’s probably easiest to start with “share alike” licenses, as that is a very clear and even bargain. I share, you share. Sounds fair? Great.

If you do use CC licences and start sharing your resources, please let us know below.

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