“What if it’s not really open?
I talk to folks a lot about open licensing and Creative Commons. Most folks have no familiarity with these topics, but I’m happy to say that the awareness level is rising. One question I’ve gotten several times lately is “What if you use something that is marked with an open license but it really isn’t?” (e.g. an uploader has posted something that they don’t own and that is actually all rights reserved).
Like most questions related to digital content, there is an non-digital analogue. :) We know how to recognize pirated movies or books through physical signs — they often don’t look like their authentic sources. This can be true for digital piracies as well. Here are some tips to help you make sure the content you think is open really is:
- Get your open content from reliable sources. Sites like Wikipedia closely monitor content that is posted under an open license to make sure it is truly open.
- If something looks like it probably isn’t open licensed, don’t use it. (If, for example, you find a purportedly open licensed video from a commercial movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” it probably isn’t really open.)
- If the creator and the uploader are obviously two different people, be skeptical.
- When it doubt, double-check and ask.
Mostly this comes down to having good judgement, a 21st century skill if there ever was one (timeless even, one hopes).
And I suppose for the still concerned, no one is going to find too much fault with you if you resuse a resource that was posted as open but in fact wasn’t.