Earlier this year, CC Learn launched CC Learn Productions, highlighting reports and three document series: CC Learn Recommendations, CC Learn Explanations, and CC Learn Step by Step Guides. Since April, we have greatly expanded our repertoire to about a dozen documents, touching on basic topics such as Why CC BY? to legally incompatible content in OER. We’ve verily become document-making machines, cranking out new publications every month.
In the course of production, we found there are certain topics that cannot be distilled to a general audience, mainly because these topics are too specialized, and impractical, for the majority of CC’s user base. We realized that another document series was necessary, one specifically dealing with advanced topics, topics which require additional expertise and address the concerns of a smaller cross section of the OER community. The CC Learn Advanced Topics series, which is not intended for general consumption or to serve as legal advice, aims for this.
The first CC Learn Advanced Topic is CC Licenses and Trademarks: A Guide for Organizational OER Creators and Distributors. This primer distinguishes between copyright and trademark as they pertain to OER, and clarifies some of the confusion surrounding CC licenses and trademarks. For OER organizations with a strong trademark, or with the plans and capacity to build and sustain one, this primer is a guide to understanding the relationship between your organization’s rights as a copyright owner using CC licenses (particularly CC BY) and your organization’s trademark rights within the context of open educational resources (OER). This primer is not relevant for OER creators generally, as trademark law only pertains to those entities with the capacity to build and sustain a brand.
Though CC and CC Learn are open to consulting around business models generally, we are not in a position to give advice around trademark law. This primer is simply an explanation of a separate set of rights you may have to protect your work – trademark rights – while still allowing for the downstream adaptation, translation, and localization of your work that are so central to the goals of OER. Additionally, this primer is an example of one way certain organizations may deal with their concerns, and we hope that it will become an important document in our ongoing work.
All CC Learn Productions are licensed CC BY.