survey results and deja vu

Here are the results of the survey on “what would ‘free for educational use’ mean to you?” There were fifteen (15) responses I could interpret. I did not respond. I counted answers like “possibly” as a yes vote, and those like “probably not” as a no vote. If you care to, you can check the data from the comments and trackback section of my blog. Spoiler: we’re back to where we started.

Twelve (12) votes for “e) that the materials are only to be used for educational or research purposes.”

Twelve (12) votes for “a) you would need to provide some reference or ?give credit? to the materials? creator”

Ten (10) votes for “c) that the materials were not to be used commercially”

Five (5) votes for “b) that any changes you made to the materials needed to be shared freely with others”

Four (4) votes for “d) that the materials should only be used in the context of a formal educational institution (e.g., not to be used for self-study by individuals not enrolled as students in a formal school)”

If we were to follow majority opinion here, we are back to a composed of an attribution clause, a noncommerical clause, and an educational use only clause. Sort of where we started this disucssion several months ago (with a proposed educational use only clause).

Where do we go from here? Do we return to the “educational use only” language or should we just ignore the data and do what we think is best?

I’ll expose an assumption I am making. I believe that the best way to make inroads with an education license is to have it mean, as reasonably as possible, what people commonly think an “educational license” means. I believe doing otherwise will lead to confusion — people would see a “Educational License” and assume that it means one thing when it actually means another. This behavior seems to encourage violations of the license’s terms. If we want a license that means something else, then we ought to pick another title, to avoid “concpetual namespace issues.” Something like the “Learning License” or something.

Having opened that can of worms, I’ll reiterate that I think the best way to make inroads is to reify what people generally think about educational use in a license with strong legal terms and then waive the banner. Projects like the one Heather mentioned earlier need the license to exist before they can roll forward. So, without any further ado, here is our old working definition of educational use:

You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above except in satisfaction of both of the following conditions:
(i) You do so in a manner that is directly related to and of material assistance to the primary teaching and learning activities of an educational institution, and
(ii) You do so solely for educational purposes.
An “educational institution” is a school or other organization primarily and directly engaged in facilitating teaching and learning.

I know people hated the strong tie to formal learning, but that’s what educational use means to the US legal system as reported to us by Kevin Rothman, the pro bono lawyer attached to the project. And I see very little point in producing a license which is both (a) out of touch with what the common person thinks it should be, and (b) out of touch with what the courts think it should be.

As I’ve said before, a careful reading of this language will show that, while using the court’s historical conception of “education,” this language enables a significant amount of informal learning not available in other education licenses.

Also, notice the final phrase “An ‘educational institution’ is a school or other organization primarily and directly engaged in facilitating teaching and learning.” An organization like Open Education or somesuch might be able to play an interesting role in increasing the number of people who would qualify under this language.

Waiting for your responses….