On-line education is using a flawed Creative Commons license

Richard Stallman, Weblog, Nov 26, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

When I asked Richard Stallman about the use of open licenses for educational materials, first he complained because I didn't use the word "free", then he said that he wasn't interested in educational content, that his arguments applied specifically to software. Clearly his views have been modified since then, as this post attests. "Educators, and all those who wish to contribute to on-line educational works: please do not to let your work be made non-free," he argues. "Offer your assistance and text to educational works that carry free/libre licenses, preferably copyleft licenses so that all versions of the work must respect teachers' and students' freedom." The problem with this is the Flat World or the OERu scenario - content deposited with the intent that it be available without cost is converted into a commercial product. It's not free if you can't access it. Content is different from software, it can be locked (or 'enclosed') in ways free software cannot, without violating the license.

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