Why I’m changing my license to CC-BY

Why I’m changing my license to CC-BY

For a long time now I’ve debated how to license my blog. Originally, I don’t say anything, which means it was copyrighted. Then I made the copyright explicit.

At one point, and article that I co-authored was included in a compilation book after it had been published in a journal. We asked the journal about it, and the said that the journal has an open license (CC-BY), so people are welcome to take articles and republish them as long as they included the author attributions. They were not required to even mention the journal. We didn’t like the idea that someone else was profiting from our work. It seemed unfair. This is part of what made me want to keep my blog as copyrighted material.

A few weeks ago, Robin DeRosa was a guest in my class. She inspired me to think again about my licensing. I’m not exactly sure what she said, but it inspired me to rethink my choice of licensing.

Then a post from a friend, Maha Bali, was picked up and republished on the Huffington Post blog. She wasn’t immediately aware of it because it was originally published elsewhere with a CC-BY license. The republishing on the Huffington Post blog meant that a lot more people heard her voice. Her very important message was rebroadcast, which meant a lot more people read it.

That got me thinking a lot more about this blog and all my other blogs. I realized that for this blog, there isn’t really anything that I would want to use commercially, but also, in the academic world it is much more about the prestige economy – by that I mean that getting my name out there will be more valuable than keeping any particular blog post. By allowing people to copy with attribution, I am encouraging the the re-use of content on my site. By stating that I want attribution helps with getting my name out there; therefore, a CC-BY (creative commons with attribution) license makes more sense than copyrighting.

Now for my other blogs, I don’t know yet. I have left them all with copyright for now. I’m a little concerned because at least one researcher reported that they did not use any copyrighted blogs as research data – I thought that was a misinterpretation of copyright – but it concerns me that my blog might get excluded from research because of the copyright. Note that I make an explicit comment about the use of my breast cancer blog in the About page for that blog.

Why do you CC or not CC your blog?


One Reply to “Why I’m changing my license to CC-BY”

  1. Funny you should use that example. Most of my stuff is CC-BY-NC or some variation of NC. Because i don’t like someone profiting from my work. I am surprised u don’t remember what Robin said but i have heard other Open educators say they don’t use NC because sometimes a commerical entity will use your stuff without monetizing it. Or they will use it in ways where they have added value and so it’s their right. Or a teacher will use it and take money for it (coz college or whatever) and that should be ok. Or something. I would personally rather give permission for something like that on case to case basis than make it outright open. My concern is that someone ends up paying for something i am making available for free already. I write for Prof Hacker. Our license is i think CC-BY but the Chronicle.com is commercial. So i can’t use images that NC licensed but I could ask permission to use them. It’s slower, but not impossible

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