Creative Commons V. Copyright

Just sent this to the CETPA Board of Directors for their consideration:


RE: Copyright V. Creative Commons

I was a bit taken aback, when reading the guidelines for submitting an article to the DataBus, that the author gives up copyright to the organization. I’m not interested in keeping a personal copyright, but for an academic organization to hold copyright on its content does not seem to me in keeping with the tradition of freely shared intellectual content in academic settings with which I grew up.

I’ve been thinking a lot about copyright since reading Lewis Hyde, “Frames from the Framers: How America’s Revolutionaries Imagined Intellectual Property,” and I’d like to suggest that Creative Commons licensing would be a more appropriate form of registry for DataBus articles than copyright.

The debate about piracy in the software and music industry has been framed as one between illegal activity on the one hand and an almost unlimited right to financial exploitation of individual or corporate products on the other.  suggests that a more useful frame is the tension between the community’s right to derive benefit from intellectual products, which always build upon the prior work of others to a great extent, and a very limited privilege which can granted to authors and creators to make a reasonable return on their efforts, which soon should devolve into the public domain.

In the context of public education, the presumption that our efforts are for the common good makes copyright out of place. The least restrictive Creative Commons licenses, Attribution or Share Alike, seem to me the most appropriate for DataBus:


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, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.

Attribution Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

Thanks for your consideration…


Fred is a Teaching Artist, an arts integration advocate & a social justice activist. He is near completing a two-month Residency as String Game Performance Teacher at Calabasas Elementary School in Watsonville, CA, and performed at the 2015 Santa Cruz Storytelling Festival. He also serves as Teacher Consultant for Professional Development with UCSC's Central California Writing Project and as their Technology Liaison to the National Writing Project. He is a Connected Learning Facilitator and coordinates Face To Face Drop Ins on Connected Learning biweekly at Arts Council Santa Cruz County. He teaches self-directed & connected learning via real-world projects & string games through his Original Digital Project, an Associate of the Arts Council.

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