The creation of OER requires consideration of a number of legal issues. Paramount amongst these is consideration of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and in particular, copyright. Making materials ‘open’ is to make them available to the public for free in perpetuity (at least to some extent – certain restrictions are still possible). Although this is not an issue where the person releasing the materials is the copyright owner, it is a much more challenging matter when third party materials are included. Other legal issues which may need to be considered include data protection law, liability for inaccurate or illegal content, and accessibility law.
In the context of OER, ‘Open’ most often refers to releasing content under a Creative Commons (CC) licence that does not include a “No Derivatives” clause. However, other ‘open’ licences are possible and sometimes more appropriate (e.g. software), including a complete waiver of all rights (e.g. ‘Public Domain’ or PD).
Copyright, OER, intellectual property rights, IPR, Creative Commons, CC, open license, public domain, PD