Photos in creative commons

I have question about images in the creative commons and licensing regarding photos.

I have many photos that belong to Charles Sturt University but they are not available in a creative commons.
We have been given permission to use these photos from an Aboriginal Elder. We are not happy for these to be free for use by anyone else.

Is there a way of putting images into the site without making them creative commons?

Hi Sue (@stheobal)

That’s an excellent question, as this highlights a number of issues course developers need to consider.

The short answer is if you are not happy with the images being used by anyone else, then you shouldn’t apply a Creative Commons license. Consequently these images shouldn’t be used for an OER course because under all rights reserved, they are not OER. There are legitimate reasons why CSU would not be able or not wish to re-licence these images, for example express permissions provided by the community may not allow re-licensing under a CC license or privacy rights may be an issue.

The longer version of the answer:

  1. CSU would typically own the copyright of the images if these were produced in the course of employment by an academic or institutional photographer. As the copyright holder, CSU would have the rights to re-license, subject to any agreements or local polices which state differently.
  2. The OERu assembles courses using OER and open access materials - we do not use all rights reserved materials with the exception of fair dealing provisions (eg quotations). It is a OERu principle of engagement that the course materials we assemble will be licensed under a free cultural works approved license. (This includes CC-BY or CC-BY-SA or resources dedicated to the public domain.) It is however possible to link to open access materials which do not meet the requirements of free cultural works.
  3. By virtue of participation in the OERu, partners have agreed to assemble two courses as OER, so have agreed to provisions to re-license where appropriate or possible to meet their obligations as an OERu partner. (So for example, it would not be possible for OERu partners to re-license materials where they don’t own the copyright.)
  4. If the images contain people, most universities have media clearance forms which are signed by the subjects. If this is the case, you would need to check the detail of the agreement between the subject and the University to determine if a CC license can be applied. (Note that in the case of images containing people, personal rights may apply and I would be extra careful not to infringe on these rights.)
  5. In the case of images which contain indigenous artefacts (eg sacred knowledge), I would advise that you consult with the communities concerned.

Thanks for sharing your question openly - I’m sure this will be helpful to other OERu developers.

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Insightful perspective from Karaitiana Taiuru’s recent presentation on “Awareness of the need for an indigenous knowledge notice: A digital perspective”.

Karaitiana affirms the need to consult with indigenous communities before digitising and sharing cultural artefacts.