Licensing for Remixed Materials Discussion

Hi all,

Thank you for a great meeting today! In our meeting I had a question about how to properly license our material. Specifically, I was asking about how to appropriately copyright remixed materials, where we have compiled resources from various sources where each source may have a different copyright.

This link ( was provided (thank you!) and the suggestion that Pressbooks may be a good format for remixed materials as we can introduce the book with the proper warning/acknowledgment and then we can copyright each section as appropriate given the source(s) in that section.

Joel (@gladja0) also mentioned his book in Pressbooks was formatted this way and we could look at it to see an example?

Wanted to start the discussion in this format as well as our meeting and thank you all for your support and feedback!


Hi Tracy – I am also curious about this topic/discussion. This Pressbooks title has been shared with me in the past as a great example of how to provide attribution and denote what content has been adapted. You can see this at the end of each chapter: Blueprint for Success in College and Career


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Thank you Emily - I really like the book that you have linked here and will likely use this resources as we format our book. I really appreciate having this example and can see how to format ours with the introduction license information and then in each section!

Thanks for sharing the Pressbook resource, @emily.frank. This chapter offers a good example of how some navigate the complexity of licensing remixed sources: Chapter 2: What’s College For? – Blueprint for Success in College and Career. The “Licenses and Attributions” part at the end identifies the separate licensing and restrictions for each of the sources. In addition, the very bottom of the Pressbooks chapter (if you scroll all the way down), identifies the global license for the entire textbook, “unless noted otherwise.”

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Dave’s approach in the Blueprint for Success book is a good example; thanks for sharing, Emily! In terms of attribution and licensing, a simple approach that helps me start out is the TASL model:

  • T - Title
  • A - Author
  • S - Source (URL)
  • L - License

I try to make sure that each TASL element is in my attribution for a resource. With remixes, it’s also good to mention what modifications were made — this is mainly if you’re reworking a major piece of content to better fit into your resource.

A lot of books will also contain back matter sections that more clearly state the Licensing and Remixing Information on the book. See examples from Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics and Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This could complement anything you’re setting up on the chapter level.

Here’s the link to Joel’s text: Write What Matters. He can probably point to a good chapter to refer to!

I can point to a chapter of ours that shows how we navigated attribution: Drafting Part 2: Introductions – Write What Matters. The beginning of the chapter includes a preface, then an editor’s introduction that ties the material to other sections in the textbook. We then include an excerpt from another textbook, as the main lesson material. At the end we included a shaded box that explains how the chapter is pieced together–it’s almost like a story of how it came to be, with links and licensing info.

As you can see, the way we managed attribution and licensing in this chapter is a little different from the other example above. Our solution may not be appropriate for other kinds of textbooks, but it seems to work for us.

I really like @apurva’s TASL model. That’s a great starting place. Use that along with examples like you see here and elsewhere.

Following up on our discussion in the meeting today regarding embedding content from a website versus linking to the site. It seems better for accessibility (and aesthetics) to embed the material, but I was not sure if that is ‘allowed’ with material that is copyrighted all rights reserved?

For example, we would like to include this ANOVA example ( in our book chapter on ANOVA. We would like to use this entire page as it is the entire example. The material is copyrighted all rights reserved. We can just provide the link to this example, but would prefer to embed the text and figures in the chapter with the reference to the link. But, is that violating the copyright or depriving the website author of ‘clicks?’

Thanks all!

Hi Tracy – One suggestion is to try to contact the faculty member listed here, share what you are doing, and ask if you could include it in your resource. It seems possible they could agree since they work in education as well.

I’ll add that even if a right’s holder rejects a request for reuse, that does not impact your ability to use it under fair use. So, if you received no response or a negative response, you could complete this 4 step fair use analysis to determine if your use could be considered under fair use.

In thinking about embedding versus linking out, the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in OER has some discussion about this: “There are obvious practical reasons to prefer incorporating inserts over linking out – links can change or break, and sometimes they take students to unintended places.
But there are principled ones as well. A clear finding from our interviews was that
the OER community is strongly committed to principles of accessibility, both in the
strict legal sense of the term, and more broadly. Making OER accessible to students
with impaired vision, hearing, or physical mobility is both a formal necessity and a
pedagogical opportunity – and it is not adequately met by reliance on linking” (p.7).

@emily.frank’s response is fantastic. Her suggestion of reaching out to the author makes sense, as do her other suggestions.

CMSI’s article on fair use as it applies to a pedagogical sources seems relevant as well. Section D states the following:

“Fair use supports the selective incorporation of elements from sources which are not currently in wide use as course materials, subject to the following…”

Number 4 under D then states:

“1. A user should be prepared to explain why their OER does not function as a market substitute (either because there is currently no market, or because the incorporated work was or is intended for a different audience than the OER).”

It seems like your article would be covered by that language, as long as you’re able to justify its use on pedagogical grounds. You’re using it for educational purposes only, not commercially, and your audience may institution-specific.

If I were considering this chapter for my own textbook I would contact the author first, then adapt—as is—but with a brief framing statement that clarifies where it’s from and how it’s being used.

@me.monicabrown or @apurva may have other input to offer. Again, Emily’s response is great.

Such wonderful suggestions shared so far! Typically, when I’ve heard of embedding content in OER, the conversation has usually focused on embedding videos — for instance, including a YouTube video in your book. In these cases, while the video may play on the same site as your book (using the YouTube player), it continues to be hosted on YouTube. The difference between linking to the video versus embedding it in this case is the experience of the viewer watching the video on the same site as the rest of the content. In both cases, the video is still hosted on the same site where it was posted by the original copyright holder on YouTube, and therefore does not violate copyright restrictions. (This is not the same as someone uploading a video to (say) Pressbooks and relying on the Pressbooks media player to play the video file.)

In your case, copying over the content into your OER as is would require what Joel or Emily suggested: relying on fair use law or receiving permission from the author. If the author were willing to license this work openly, great! Given that these are designed to be online learning modules, I think there is a strong chance that they may decide to openly license the work or grant you permission to include this in your OER. If they do not, as Emily noted, you can still take advantage of fair use permissions to incorporate pieces of this into your book.

The resources shared should hopefully give you plenty of guidance on how to proceed either way.

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