Revisiting the Potential of Free Content

Neil Butcher, Commonwealth of Learning, Jul 26, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The author argues that "releasing OERs under a licence restricting commercial use of the content creates unnecessary restrictions and should be avoided wherever possible." It seems to me that there is a real push to allow commercial exploitation of freely produced learning resources - since the only people who are inconvenienced by this are corporations, should we wonder where this argument is coming from? The corporations are using their considerable lobbying power to make their case directly to the foundations and the funding agencies, including the Commonwealth of Learning. It's like they can't understand the concept of free educational resources - that is to say, available at no charge. The point of open educational resources isn't to create wealth for some publishing company. It isn't to tack some 'open for business' sign at the entrance to our brains.
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