Earlier this week the California Community Colleges Board of Governors voted to require all grant and contract work funded by the CCC chancellor’s office to carry a Creative Commons license that gives permission for public use as long as acknowledgement is given to the work’s author.
This means that a Creative Commons Attribution license would allow the public to reproduce, distribute, display, perform or adapt the licensed materials for any purpose as long as users give attribution to the author or the materials used.
The new rules will affect all materials created from now forward and is not retroactive. With this new ruling, the Board of Governors has handed individuals, nonprofits, and businesses permission to use materials created with public funding as long as the creator of the work is given credit.
This licensing move will substantially benefit taxpayers and students by saving them money. Taxpayers will not need to fund duplicate work that might only be available on the local level. For example previously if a community college staff created a report under contract with the system’s Chancellor’s Office there was no requirement to openly license or to share that report with other colleges. Consequently, other colleges had difficulty accessing and reusing the report, but with the new licensing requirement other colleges can now view and reuse the report, plus share and improve upon it with updated information, facts or statistics.
The Chancellor Speaks
California Community College Chancellor Brice W. Harris said, “The Chancellor’s Office already held copyrights to all materials that had been contracted. But the significant thing about the action taken by the board of governors this afternoon is that those materials will now be available to a worldwide. Also, the tax-paying public shouldn’t be required to pay twice o more to access and use educational materials. First via the funding of the research and development of educational resources and then again when they purchase materials like textbooks they helped fund. So, ultimately this decision to change the board’s regulations will save taxpayers money over time. That’s always a good thing.”
California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Manuel Baca elaborated on the benefits of the licensing as already used by the $2 billion United States Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants.
“A Creative commons license is considered to be the gold standard,” Baca said. “These licenses are already in use by scientists when they publish their work, by national museums and libraries around the world, and by businesses such as Microsoft. Changing our regulations to require the licenses for any work done in the future is a necessary next step and I look forward to seeing the results as the material we contract for as a system becomes more accessible and improved with more input.”
The California Community College system is comprised of 112 colleges in 72 districts, serving 2.3 million students each year. The decision to change the board’s regulations will definitely have an enormous cost saving impact on students and the taxpayers who help support the state higher education system.
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