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OER (Open Educational Resource)

Guide for faculty who would like to use OER materials

File:Difference between open license, public domain and all rights reserved copyright.png

Best Practices for Attribution

You can use CC-licensed materials as long as you follow the license conditions. One condition of all CC licenses is attribution. Here are some good (and not so good) examples of attribution. Note: You can learn how to mark your own material with a CC license.

Contents

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Examples of Attribution

Here is a photo. Following it are some examples of how people might attribute it.

cupcakes with a CC logo on a green background

This is an Ideal Attribution

Because:

Title? "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco"

Author? "tvol" - linked to his profile page

Source? "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" - linked to original Flickr page

License? "CC BY 2.0" - linked to license deed

This is a Pretty Good Attribution

Photo by tvol / CC BY

Because:

Title? Title is not noted (it should be) but at least the source is linked.
 
Author? "tvol"
 
Source? "Photo" - linked to original Flickr page
 
License? "CC BY" - linked to license deed

This is an Incorrect Attribution

Photo: Creative Commons

Because:

Title? Title is not noted.
 
Author? Creative Commons is not the author of this photo.
 
Source? No link to original photo.
 
License? There is no mention of the license, much less a link to the license. "Creative Commons" is an organization.

This is a Good Attribution for Material You Modified Slightly

a black and white version of the first photo
"Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol, used under CC BY / Desaturated from original

Because:

Title, Author, Source, and License are all noted
 
Modification? "Desaturated from original"

This is a Good Attribution for Material from which You Created a Derivative Work

original photo in a negative lighting format
This work, "90fied", is a derivative of "Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco" by tvol, used under CC BY. "90fied" is licensed under CC BY by [Your name here].

Because:

Original Title, Author, Source, and License are all noted
 
Derivative? "This work, "90fied", is a derivative of..."
 
New author of the derivative work is also noted>

Note: If you're at a point where you are licensing derivative works, go to Marking your work with a CC license.


This is a Good Attribution for Material from Multiple Sources

Saylor marking example.jpg

Because:

Title? Specific works are named, eg. "Box-and-whisker Plots"
Author? Different authors noted for the different works.
Source? Original materials are linked for each work
License? The different licenses (Creative Commons Attribution for Collaborative Statistics and Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike for the Khan Academy video) are spelled out and linked for each work
Lastly, it is clear which attribution belongs to which work.

You can visit the Saylor.org Introduction to Statistics course page to see how they marked it up directly.


Title, Author, Source, License

A good rule of thumb is to use the acronym ">TASL, which stands for Title, Author, Source, License.

Title

What is the name of the material?

If a title was provided for the material, include it. Sometimes a title is not provided; in that case, don't worry about it.

Author

Who owns the material?

Name the author or authors of the material in question. Sometimes, the licensor may want you to give credit to some other entity, like a company or pseudonym. In rare cases, the licensor may not want to be attributed at all. In all of these cases, just do what they request.

Source 

Where can I find it?

Since you somehow accessed the material, you know where to find it. Provide the source of the material so others can, too. Since we live in the age of the Internet, this is usually a URL or hyperlink where the material resides.

License

How can I use it?

You are obviously using the material for free thanks to the CC license, so make note of it. Don't just say the material is Creative Commons, because that says nothing about how the material can actually be used. Remember that there are six different CC licenses; which one is the material under? Name and provide a link to it, eg. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ for CC BY.
If the licensor included a license notice with more information, include that as well.

Lastly, is there anything else I should know before I use it?

When you accessed the material originally did it come with any copyright notices; a notice that refers to the disclaimer of warranties; or a notice of previous modifications? (That was a mouthful!) Because that kind of legal mumbo jumbo is actually pretty important to potential users of the material. So the best practice is to just retain all of that stuff by copying and pasting such notices into your attribution. Don't make it any more complicated than it is -- just pass on any info you think is important. Regarding modifications: Don't forget to note if you modified the work yourself (example). If you are at the point where you are creating and licensing derivative works (example), see Marking your work with a CC license.

These best practices are based on actual CC license requirements. Noting the title is a requirement of all CC licenses version 3.0 or earlier, optional for 4.0. Noting the author, source, license, and retaining any extra notices is a requirement of all CC licenses. See Devil in the details.

Devil in the Details

If you have any doubts or questions, you can read the complete attribution requirements which are spelled out in detail in the legal code of every CC license, eg. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode#s3a. This chart compares the detailed requirements across all versions of CC licenses.

Don't Make it Too Complicated

The license tells you to be reasonable:

You may satisfy the conditions in (1) and (2) above in any >reasonable manner based on the medium, means and context in which the Licensed Material is used. For example, it may be reasonable to satisfy some or all of the conditions by retaining a copyright notice, or by providing a URI or hyperlink associated with the Licensed Material, if the copyright notice or webpage includes some or all of the required information.

There is no one right way; just make sure your attribution is reasonable and suited to the medium you're working with. That being said, you still have to include attribution requirements somehow, even if it's just a link to an About page that has that info. (More on different mediums below.)


Attribution in Specific Media

As stated above, best practices for attribution apply as reasonable to the medium you're working with. For media such as offline materials, video, audio, and images, consider:

  • Publishing a web page with attribution information. For example, on a webpage featuring your audio recording, provide a credit list of material you used that adheres to best practices above. Doing so allows not only your material, but the materials you attribute, to be found by search engines and other web discovery tools. If possible within the medium, make the Author, Source, and License links the user can follow.
Example:
This video features the song "Desaprendere (Treatment)" by fourstones, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.
  • Mentioning the credits within the media itself.  For example, crediting videos can be a simple list of the materials used with their associated licenses on a screen at the end of a video. For audio, it can be a verbal recitation of credits at the end of the recording.
Video example 1: "Science Commons" by Jesse Dylan - see attribution starting at 1:52
Video example 2: "Video Editing and Shot Techniques: Study of jump cuts, match cuts and cutaways " video by New Media Rights - see attribution starting at 3:21
Audio example: "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow read aloud. Mastered by John Taylor Williams - listen to attribution starting at 17:08
“Best Practices for Attribution.” Best Practices for Attribution - Creative Commons, wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution.

The Licenses

Attribution 
CC BY Attribution

This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-ShareAlike 
CC BY-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open-source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NoDerivs 
CC BY-ND

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial 
CC BY-NC

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 
CC BY-NC-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 
CC BY-NC-ND

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

View License Deed | View Legal Code

“About The Licenses.”  Creative Commons creativecommons.org/licenses/.